impatiens

/im pay"sheuhnz/, n., pl. impatiens.
any of numerous plants belonging to the genus Impatiens, of the balsam family, having irregular flowers in which the calyx and corolla are not clearly distinguishable and bearing fruit that bursts open to scatter the seeds.
[1880-85; < NL, L impatiens not enduring, not tolerating (see IMPATIENT); alluding to the plant's quick release of seeds upon slight contact; cf. the familiar name touch-me-not]

* * *

Any of about 900 species of herbaceous plants in the genus Impatiens (balsam family), so named because the seedpod bursts when slightly touched.

Garden balsam (I. balsamina), native to the tropics of Asia, is a favourite showy annual in U.S. gardens; its flowers are irregular, single or clustered, and of almost every colour but blue. Familiar related weeds in eastern North America are spotted jewelweed (I. biflora or I. capensis) and pale touch-me-not. Most impatiens have weak, hollow stems and require high moisture. Close relatives are geraniums and nasturtiums.

* * *

▪ plant genus
 large genus of herbaceous plants, belonging to the balsam family (Balsaminaceae), that are widely distributed in Asia, Africa, and North America. Some are regarded as weeds but others are popular garden plants. The name, meaning “impatient,” refers to the readiness with which the plants' seeds are dispersed. The ripe seedpod bursts upon slight pressure, thus scattering the seeds.

      Impatiens' simple leaves are usually alternate, the upper ones often being whorled (i.e., three or more arising in a circle from the stem). The flowers, which may be purple, yellow, pink, red, or white, are irregular in shape and arise from the leaf axils; they may be solitary or in small clusters.

      Impatiens balsamina, the garden balsam, is native to the tropics of Asia but has long been cultivated in temperate regions of the world. In its many horticultural forms it is one of the showiest of garden flowers and is relatively easy to cultivate. I. biflora, I. nolitangere, and I. pallida, all known variously as touch-me-not, snapweed, and jewelweed, are common weeds native to extensive regions of eastern North America.

      Impatiens balsamina, an annual that grows about 75 cm (30 inches) in height, has flowers of almost every colour except blue. I. biflora, which grows 60–90 cm tall, is an annual with orange, brown-spotted flowers. I. capensis, which grows 120–150 cm tall, is an annual with orange, red-spotted flowers. I. pallida closely resembles I. capensis but has larger, yellower flowers.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • impatiens — [ ɛ̃pasjɑ̃s ] n. f. • 1795; lat. impatiens ♦ Balsamine, appelée aussi impatiente. ⊗ HOM. Impatience. ● impatiente ou impatiens nom féminin (latin scientifique impatiens balsamina) Autre nom donné aux balsamines, parce que leur fruit s ouvre… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Impatiens — Im*pa ti*ens ([i^]m*p[=a] sh[i^]*[e^]nz), prop. n. [L., impatient.] (Bot.) A genus of plants, several species of which have very beautiful flowers; so called because the elastic capsules burst when touched, and scatter the seeds with considerable …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Impatĭens — (I. L.), Pflanzengattung aus der Familie der Balsamineae, 5. Kl. 1. Ordn. L.; Kelch drei , selten fünfblätterig, abfallend, das eine Blatt gespornt, Blumenkrone ungleich fünfblättrig, Kapsel fünfklappig, elastisch aufspringend, die Klappen von… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • impatiens — [im pā′shē enz΄, im pā′shənz] n. [ModL < L: see IMPATIENT] any of a genus (Impatiens) of plants of the balsam family, with spurred flowers and pods that burst and scatter their seeds when ripe …   English World dictionary

  • Impatĭens — L. (Springkraut, Balsamine), Gattung der Balsaminazeen, saftige Kräuter, selten Halbsträucher, mit abwechselnden, gegenständigen oder gequirlten, krautigen, meist gesägten Blättern, meist großen und bunten, blattwinkelständigen Blüten und… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Impatiens — Impatĭens L., Pflanzengattg. der Balsaminazeen, saftige, über die ganze Erde verbreitete Kräuter. I. noli me tangĕre (Springkraut, Judenhütlein, Rührmichnichtan [Abb. 854]), in Europa, Nordamerika und Mittelasien, mit gelben Blüten und bei der… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Impatiens — Impatiente Impatiente …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Impatiens — Taxobox name = Impatiens image width = 240px image caption = Himalayan Balsam regnum = Plantae divisio = Magnoliophyta classis = Magnoliopsida ordo = Ericales familia = Balsaminaceae genus = Impatiens genus authority = L. subdivision ranks =… …   Wikipedia

  • Impatiens — Springkräuter Großes Springkraut (Impatiens noli tangere) Systematik Abteilung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Impatiens —   Impatiens …   Wikipedia Español

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.