Oct. 10, 2020

western touch-me-not, Impatiens noli-tangere

With western touch-me-not, here we go again, and again, and again. The current name, Impatiens noli-tangere, was previously applied to Eurasian plants. Now we know that the North American plants are the same species, and I. occidentalis loses its individuality. There is a very long list of previous names that have been abandoned. Some because they were exactly the same plant as the original I. noli-tangere. Those are called homotypic names. Lamarck in Paris (I. lutea) may not have known in 1779 what Linnaeus in Sweden called it in 1753. Most of the previous names were for plants that someone considered different enough to be another species (heterotypic). The present name, translated, is touch-me-not touch-me-not. The irony of it is that we all love to touch those exploding seedpods.
And I would recommend using the juice on nettle stings (but it doesn't work for poison-ivy). With us western touch-me-not grows in damp spots in AK, CA, OR, WA, AB, BC, MB, NT, and SK. Beal Gardens, MSU, 8/10/19. Balsam family, Balsaminaceae.