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Impatiens – Wikipedia

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**Description of Impatiens:**
– Most species are herbaceous annuals or perennials with succulent stems
Plant size varies from 5 cm to 2.5 meters
– Leaves are entire, often dentate or sinuate with extrafloral nectaries
– Flowers are zygomorphic and protandric
– Seeds burst explosively from mature capsules

**Distribution and Ecology:**
– Occurs in Africa, Eurasia, and North America
– Most species in tropical and subtropical mountain forests
– Single species in Europe naturally, with several neophytic species
– North American orange jewelweed naturalized in Europe
– Himalayan balsam invasive in many areas, dominating riparian vegetation
– Most species are perennial herbs
– Some annual species exist, especially in temperate regions
– Variety of flower architectures, grouped by main pollinators
– Some species switch from pollinator-dependent to self-pollination
– Leaves used for food by certain insect species, toxic to others

**Medicinal Uses and Phytochemistry of Impatiens:**
– Impatiens contain anti-inflammatory and fungicide naphthoquinone
– North American impatiens used in herbal remedies for bee stings and insect bites
– Orange and yellow jewelweed studied for preventing poison ivy contact dermatitis
– Impatiens biflora found effective for dermatitis caused by sumac contact
– Impatiens glandulifera used in Bach flower remedies for emotional problems
– All Impatiens species taste bitter and may cause intestinal ailments upon ingestion

**Cultivation and Ornamental Uses:**
– Impatiens are popular garden annuals
– Hybrids derived from busy lizzie and New Guinea impatiens have commercial importance
– Varieties like Elfin and Super Elfin series are improvements in I. walleriana
– Other ornamental species include I. repens and I. sodenii
– Various Impatiens species are cultivated for ornamental purposes

**Chemical Components and Research on Impatiens:**
– α-Parinaric acid is a predominant component in garden jewelweed seeds
– Certain jewelweeds contain the naphthoquinone lawsone
– Impatiens petals were historically used for nail polish in ancient China
– Toxic compounds in Impatiens causing bitterness and slight toxicity are likely glycosides or alkaloids
– Conflicting results in studies on orange jewelweed and garden jewelweed for reducing contact dermatitis
– A 2012 study found the topical application of mash from Impatiens plants reduced contact dermatitis

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