The Q&A Archives: Plant Identity

Question: Could you identify plant from this description? Long stems, 2 to 3 ft., alternating smooth oval dark green leaves, flower looks like a small orchid, purple mauve in color, oblong seed pod which explodes when touched, and curls up, seeds are small and black, grows in groups of single stems, don't know how long it flowers but is in flower now, sept. don't know if it is a annual or perennial.

Answer: The plant you describe sounds like Touch-Me-Not which is a common name for Impatiens balsamina, an old-fashioned plant, also known as garden balsam. It's perennialin mild-winter regions, and it self-seeds readily. Burpee offers seeds for it in the Heirloom Catalog. You may order a catalog at the website or call 1-800-888-1447 to verify current availability.

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