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(ĭmpā`shēĕnz'): see jewelweedjewelweed,
common name for the Balsaminaceae, a family of widely distributed annual and perennial herbs. The principal genus is Impatiens, so named because of the sudden bursting of the mature seed capsules when touched.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of primarily herbaceous plants of the family Balsaminaceae. The stems are succulent and often transparent. The leaves are usually alternate, simple, and exstipulate. The perianth is double, and the calyx has a petal-like spur. The fruit is generally a succulent capsule, which bursts when ripe, even upon the slightest touch or vibration; the valves twist spirally from bottom to top and the seeds are expelled and scattered.

There are approximately 400 species of Impatiens (according to some data, as many as 700), growing primarily in tropical Asia and Africa; a few species are found in Europe and America. There are eight species in the USSR, the most common being touch-me-not (Impatiens noli-tangere). Touch-me-not has large yellow flowers and grows in shady forests, among shrubs, along ravines, near springs, and in orchards. Some species, particularly garden balsam (I. balsamina), are cultivated as ornamentals.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.