Impatiens capensis - Orange balsam

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Ericales - Family: Balsaminaceae

Orange balsam, closeup of flower

Found beside canals and some rivers - notably chalk streams and other rivers whose levels do not change very much in times of heavy rainfall - this annual is an import from North America. Orange Balsam has become naturalised in parts of southern England and Wales. In the USA this plant is commonly referred to as Touch-Me-Not (because of its exploding seed pods) or as Spotted Jewelweed, the latter name referring to the beautiful orange flowers with their bold reddish spots.

The red-spotted orange flowers appear in July, and the plant continues blooming into September.

Flowers of orange balsam

Unlike Himalayan balsam, this is not an invasive weed, and it is uncommon to rare in most parts of England and Wales.

Flowers of orange balsam

There are occasional patches of this pretty plant beside the canal at Llangollen and on the banks of the River Test in Hampshire.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Eric Olson.

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