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  1. Family: Balsaminaceae A.Rich.
    1. Genus: Impatiens Riv. ex L.
      1. Impatiens polyantha Gilg

        This species is accepted, and its native range is SW. & S. Tanzania to E. Zambia.


    Balsaminaceae, C. Grey-Wilson. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1993

    Upright or rather straggling moderately branched perennial 40–80 cm. tall at the most; stems glabrous, rarely sparsely pubescent on the youngest parts.
    Leaves spirally arranged, sessile or with a glabrous to slightly pubescent petiole (1–)3–7 mm. long; lamina narrowly-oblong, oblong-lanceolate, elliptic, ovate or oblanceolate, 2.5–10(–12.5) cm. long, 1–4 cm. broad, the apex ± acute, rarely shortly acuminate, the base cuneate, usually glabrous but sometimes sparsely pubescent above or beneath; lateral veins 6–10(–12) pairs, especially prominent beneath; margin crenulate-denticulate.
    Flowers in fascicles of 2–5, sometimes solitary, usually borne on a very reduced, 1–4 mm. long, peduncle, white or pink.
    Bracts narrowly ovate, linear-lanceolate or subulate, 2–4 mm. long.
    Pedicels 2–5.5 cm. long, slender, glabrous or slightly pubescent, ascending or horizontal in flower but becoming pendent in fruit.
    Lateral sepals ovate to ovate-triangular, 6–10 mm. long, 2.5–5 mm. broad, acute or shortly apiculate, usually glabrous, occasionally sparsely pubescent. Lower sepal shallowly to deeply navicular, 12–20 mm. long, 5–11 mm. deep, abruptly constricted into a short, 4–9(–10) mm. long, straight, curved or more rarely incurved spur, usually slightly swollen at the tip, glabrous or ± pubescent.
    Dorsal petal 9–15(–17) mm. long, 6–11(–13) mm. broad (unflattened!), cucullate, dorsally with a broad crest terminating in a short appendage. Lateral united petals 18–31 mm. long, with a small (± 2 mm.) rounded auricle along the inner margin where the two petals unite; upper petal ± 3/4 the size of the lower, oblong or semi-elliptic, 9–14 mm. long, 4–7 mm. broad; lower petal broadly and transversely oblong, elliptic or ovate, 10–18 mm. long, (6–)8–11 mm. broad, with a slight emargination along the inner margin.
    Ovary glabrous.
    Fruit broadly fusiform, 12–18 mm. long, 6–8 mm. broad, glabrous.
    Fig. 3/48a–b, p. 6.
    In moist open places, generally upland grassland, but occasionally in thickets or open Brachystegia woodland, or along river banks; often in distrubed sites; 1400–2750 m.
    T7 T8

    Balsaminaceae, E. Launert. Flora Zambesiaca 2:1. 1963

    Upright or straggling perennial (?) herb, up to 80 cm. high or more; stems glabrous or rarely scattered-pilose, pale green or brownish, somewhat succulent.
    Leaves spirally arranged, sessile or very shortly petiolate; lamina 3·5–9 × 1–2·5 cm., oblong-lanceolate, rarely elliptic or oblanceolate, glabrous on both surfaces, pale green on the upper, greyish, silvery or glaucous below, chartaceous, apex acute, margin crenulate-denticulate, base cuneate (usually narrowly so); secondary nerves 8–12 pairs, somewhat prominent below.
    Flowers axillary, single or in pairs or in very few-flowered clusters, white; bracts up to 6 mm. long, lanceolate-triangular to nearly subulate; pedicels (1·5) 2·5–4 (5) cm. long, slender, usually glabrous.
    Lateral sepals 6–8 × 3·5–5 mm., ovate or ovate-triangular, acute and usually apiculate; posterior sepal 1·3–1·5 and 0·5–0·8 cm. deep (excluding the spur), broadly and obliquely funnel-shaped in outline, ± abruptly constricted into the spur, distally very acute; spur 6–9 (11) mm. long, c. 1 mm. thick, slightly incurved, cylindric or subconical, with an obtuse end, usually glabrous.
    Anterior petal 9–12 × 10–14 cm. (when flattened), helmet-shaped, dorsally broadly cristate (crest up to 3 mm. broad), shortly apiculate at the apex, apparently glabrous; lateral pair of united petals 20–27 mm. long, deeply 2-lobed, glabrous; anterior lobe 10–16 × 6–9 mm., transversely semi-elliptic; posterior lobe 1/2 to 3/4 the size of the anterior one, transversely oblique-elliptic to oblique-ovate.
    Ovary glabrous or very sparsely pilose.
    Capsule (not seen in a mature state) glabrous or somewhat pilose towards the apex.
    Seeds numerous.



    Native to:

    Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia


    Other Data

    Impatiens polyantha Gilg appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Tanzania 38591.000
    Tanzania 38682.000
    Tanzania 38684.000
    Tanzania 38687.000
    Fuller, K.A.P. [14], Tanzania 39642.000
    Goetze, W. [688], Tanzania K000419516 Unknown type material
    Brummitt, R.K. [10716], Malawi Impatiens richardsiae 25694.099
    Brummitt, R.K. [10690], Malawi Impatiens richardsiae 25694.133


    First published in Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 28: 425 (1900)

    Accepted by

    • Grey-Wilson, C. (1982). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Balsaminaceae: 1-76.


    Kew Backbone Distributions

    • Grey-Wilson, C. (1982). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Balsaminaceae: 1-76.
    • Exell, A.W., Fernandes, A. & Wild, H. (eds.) (1963). Flora Zambesiaca 2(1): 1-351. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Grey-Wilson, Impat. Afr.: 171, fig. 109, pl. 35 (1980).
    • Gilg in A. Engler, Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie 28: 425 (1900).


    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
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    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.