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Impatiens balfourii Hook.f. is a species of the genus Impatiens known by the common names Balfour’s touch-me-not, Kashmir balsam, and Poor Man’s Orchid. It belongs to the family Balsaminaceae. It is native to the Himalayas, particularly Kashmir and surrounding areas, where it grows on mountains of 5,000 to 6,000 feet. It was brought back to England and many other European countries as a garden plant. It can now be found growing wild as a garden escapee in Europe. In the wild the plant occurs along the banks of rivers, on roadsides, and in wastelands. It thrives in cool and moist areas, at an altitude of 100–600 m above sea level (Wikipedia contributors 2019).
Status and distribution in LuxembourgIn Luxembourg, Impatiens balfourii Hook.f. was first observed in the wild by Roland Proess on 5th August 2016 at Schëttermarjal on the edge of the Kirchberg plateau in Luxembourg City (MNHNL 2000-).This is the only record of this melliferous Himalayan species in the MNHNL-mdata online portal (MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF 2019). The species is at present considered to be subspontaneous; it may however have the potential of becoming naturalised in Luxembourg due to climate change (Krippel & Proess 2017).
Cultivated as an ornamental garden plant. Found subspontaneously here and there, or sometimes naturalised locally, especially in the south (Lambinon & Verloove 2012: 480).
Impatiens balfourii has its origins in the west Himalayan region (Grey-Wilson 1983). This species of the Balsaminaceae family was simultaneously introduced in 1901 at the Jardin des plantes de Montpellier and the Botanical Garden of Edinburgh (Adamowski 2009). It has been cultivated in Europe as an ornamental plant since the beginning of the 20th century; in Luxembourg it is grown, for example, in the Jardin méditerranéen in Schwebsange. Nowadays the species is naturalised in major parts of south and central Europe (Adamowski 2009, Schmitz & Dericks 2010).
Other Impatiens taxa and hybrids
In 2011 the annual hybrid I. parviflora × I. balfourii was discovered in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland. The fertile hybrid with alternating leaves can be up to 60 cm high. Considerable populations of the hybrid were observed in 2014 in the canton of Ticino in the absence of the parent species (Van Valkenburg et al. 2019).
Three other alien balsam species occur in Luxembourg:
- Impatiens balsamina L.: the garden balsam is already mentioned in Krombach’s flora of 1875 as “Introduced from the East Indies and grown in all gardens” (Krombach 1875: 56).
- Impatiens glandulifera Royle: the invasive Himalayan Balsam, which is widespread in riparian ecosystems and forests across Luxembourg.
- Impatiens parviflora DC.: the small balsam, which is widespread in forests across Luxembourg.
ISEIA Protocol: B1 (3+3+3+1) = Watch List. First assessed 16 February 2017 by Yves Krippel and Christian Ries.
- Adamowski, W., 2009. Impatiens balfourii as an emerging invader in Europe. Neobiota 8: 183-194.
- Grey-Wilson, C., 1983. A survey of the genus Impatiens in cultivation. The Plantsman 5(2): 86-102.
- Krippel, Y. & R. Proess, 2017. Impatiens balfourii Hook.f. (Balsaminaceae), nouvelle espèce subspontanée au Luxembourg ?! Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 119: 55-61 [PDF].
- Lambinon J. & F. Verloove, 2012. Nouvelle flore de la Belgique, du grand-duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines. Sixième édition. Avec la collaboration de L. Delvosalle, B. Toussaint, D. Geerinck, I. Hoste, F. Van Rossum, B. Cornier, R. Schumacker, A. Vanderpoorten et H. Vannerom. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise. CXXXIX + 1195 pp. ISBN : 9789072619884.
- MNHNL, 2000-. Impatiens balfourii Hook.f. in Recorder-Lux, database on the natural heritage of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Musée national d’histoire naturelle, Luxembourg. URL: https://mdata.mnhn.lu [Accessed 2019-10-11]
- MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2019. Impatiens balfourii Hook.f. in MNHNL-mdata, online portal combining species observation from Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist and GBIF. National Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg. URL: https://mdata.mnhn.lu [Accessed 2019-10-11]
- Schmitz, U. & G. Dericks, 2010. Spread of alien invasive Impatiens balfourii in Europe and its temperature, light and soil moisture demands. Flora 205: 772-776.
- Van Valkenburg, J. L. C. H., N. Schoenenberger, B. T. L. H. van de Vossenberg, W. A. Man in’t Veld, M. Westenberg & E. Boer, 2019. A natural hybrid of Impatiens, in the introduced range, demonstrated by sequence analysis of the nuclear ribosomal DNA-gene repeat. Botany Letters 166: 144-152.
- Wikipedia contributors, 2019. Impatiens balfourii Hook.f. in Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 September 2019, 14:49 UTC, <https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Impatiens_balfourii&oldid=917160050> [accessed 2019-10-11]
Suggested citation of this webpage
Ries, C. & M. Pfeiffenschneider (Eds.), 2020. Impatiens balfourii Hook.f. In: neobiota.lu - Invasive Alien Species in Luxembourg. National Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg. URL: https://neobiota.lu/impatiens-balfourii/ [Accessed 2020-01-23].