Impatiens psittacina

Thank you to Ruth for today’s scan and write-up:

What may look like a typical Impatiens-type flower in this image is apparently very rare! This is a scanned image of a colour reproduction from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine Vol 127, TAB: 7809. This 1901 publication is where Joseph Dalton Hooker first described the species in a publication (and copyright has expired on the original image). This reproduction does not express a true sense of the size of the species; for example, the flowers are around 5cm (2 in) in diameter.

The species does not closely resemble the typical nursery-grown impatiens in wide cultivation (i.e., hybrids of Impatiens walleriana) and sold as 6-packs for your shaded garden areas in need of some colour. Instead, Impatiens psittacina more closely resembles species like the tendency-to-be-invasive Impatiens glandulifera and reaches similar heights of 2m (6ft).

Impatiens psittacina, or the parrot-flower is from north Thailand, Burma and portions of east India.

Steve Lucas writes extensively about Impatiens psittacina on his web site, Exotic Rainforest in this article: The Rare Thailand Parrot-Flower. Steve also notes that the only public garden known to have an individual of this rare species (that he’s been able to locate) is the Queen Siktri Botanical Garden in Chiang Mai of Thailand.

Steve has also started or contributed to a number of discussions about this species on the UBC Botanical Garden forums, which you can find here, here, here, and here.

Impatiens psittacina

10 responses to “Impatiens psittacina”

  1. Eric in SF

    Love those old botanical magazines with expired copyrights!
    Here is my favorite Impatiens species. It’s a high-altitude species and can only be grown in mild winter/mild summer regions.

  2. Behty


  3. annie morgan

    Oh my, Eric, those pics are glorious! But it was fun to see one of those old prints, too.

  4. elizabeth a airhart

    i visit the curtis magazine often
    i enjoy the the the lovely art work
    then search for the plant to see
    if it still exists
    another site more commercial but
    still full of wonderful paints and
    drawings is panteek i spend time
    with the artists so much time
    effort to record all the new
    discoveries so many centuries ago
    thank you this is a treat today

  5. Peggy Vicknair

    I believe that Logee’s in Connecticut has this plant for sale. I think I’ve seen it in its catalogue.

  6. SoapySophia

    Beautiful! I love the old paintings and drawings of flowers, they seem extra special!

  7. Ruth's Fan Club

    yay!!! ruth is back!!! and cool flower btw (i love that you pointed out the copyright date =P)

  8. Bonaventure Magrys

    It resembles more Impatiens arguta and the once-rare true blue Impatiens namchabarwense, and also to a lesser degree the US east coast native I. capensis. There are others similar besides glandulifera, like the massive I. tinctoria. See (check out the photo of I. delavayii!)and those offered by Annie’s Annuals.
    Here on the east coast, unless kept shady and moist, they suffer through our hot humid summers.
    I’ve killed tinctoria 3 times last summer, but arguta and menengschwzsomethingorother are said to come back in spring from rhizomes or tubers (which a few species have) and namchabarwense has seeded itself about the garden so I await in anticipation next spring to see if it will become a beautiful volunteer every year as Impatiens balsamina has.
    This is one of my new favorite groups of plants alongside orchids, arisaemas, and carnivorous.
    I’ll be trying cross pollinations next year, especially with some very pretty varieties of Jewel Weed (capensis) we have around here.

  9. Cyndy Henderson

    Oh, I should have opened this the day it arrived. I adore botanical prints!! Daniel, perhaps you could do a series on old prints?
    Thank you!

  10. Jewell

    Does anyone know where this plant can be pruchased from for sure???????????????

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