There are more than 1,000 species of impatiens, also known as "balsams" or "touch-me-nots". They grow in many different countries around the world and have been a best-selling plant for garden beds and containers since the early 1980s.
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New Guinea Hybrids
In 1972 the New Guinea Hybrids were introduced and today millions are produced by nurseries worldwide every year. These are a hardy flower and will bloom all summer and into fall. Impatiens hawkeri is the root species from New Guinea and is now available in varieties of pink, white, red, orange, blush, pinwheel and salmon, to name a few.
According to Raymond J. Morgan, holder of the U.K.'s National Plant Collection of Impatiens, there are well over 100 African species of impatiens and probably more yet undiscovered. The most well-known of these is Impatiens walleriana. Impatiens tinctoria, with their large white flowers and purple centres, are also gaining in popularity, and are found in Kenya, Uganda and Malawi.
Of the Himalayas
Many of the species in the world's tallest mountain range have yet to be discovered. Impatiens glandulifera from this area is considered an invasive wild flower. But other varieties, including Impatiens balfourii, I. scabrida, I. edgeworthii, I. falcifer and I. arguta (which happens to be a perennial) are now being offered by many companies.
Of Southeast Asia
Perhaps one of the most unusual impatiens, found in southern Thailand, is Impatiens mirabilis. This plant is quite distinct from the rest of the species in that it can grow into a 3-meter-tall tree, bearing large, 25-to-30 centimetre leaves and large blooms in yellow, pink or apricot colours. There is also Impatiens kerriae, found in southern China and northern Thailand, and four numbered species from Vietnam, among many others.
Of Southern India and Sri Lanka
Some of the most diverse forms of Impatiens come from India. The most eye-catching ones are Impatiens grandis, I. campanulata, I. maculata, I. cordata, I. verticillata and I. parasitica.
Of the hundreds of species found in Madagascar perhaps one of the most astounding is Impatiens bicaudata, a large, red-stemmed plant with distinct red and yellow flowers. Impatiens catatii, I. lyallii, I. auricoma, I. begonioides, I. decaryana and I. laurentii are also beautiful species from the Indian Ocean's largest island.
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