The meaning of the Impatiens flower derives from its ability to curl at the slightest touch.
It is also called Balsam Apple or the Apple of Jerusalem. This name comes from old Latin Pomum Mirabile which means Marvellous Apple.
The plant is from the Balsaminaceae family and the species was discovered in 1632 by George Bowles.
The species was given the name “Impatiens Noli-tangere” which translates to do not touch by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus.
In this blog we will explore the symbolism of the Impatiens and the cultivation and history of the various varieties.
What do impatiens symbolise?
Impatiens flower symbolises ardent love, touch me not and also impatience. The red and yellow coloured impatiens both symbolise impatience. The flower falls under the dominion of the planet Jupiter.
The Impatiens being under the dominion of the planet Jupiter would make a perfect gift or addition to those born under the sign of Sagittarius or Pisces.
Moreover, the impatiens flower meaning also derives from the history of its various species. Let’s get right into them.
The variety of species called Impatiens Balsamia originates from India, however, it is now widespread across Asia.
This species features a range of colours namely: pink, lilac, white, red and mauve.
In China the Impatiens Balsamina was used against the effects of snakebites and also the ingestion cause by fish poisoning.
Moreover, the juice that would be extracted from the stem of the plant would be mixed with rice liquorice. This mixture was used to reduce swelling and to heal bruises.
The stem might also have been dried then pulverised in order to be used as an ointment. Additionally, the flowers were also used as a paste in order to treat back pain and neuralgia.
The Vietnamese would use the extract of this species in hair products. They believed that washing their hair with extract of Impatiens Balsamina would stimulate the growth of follicles.
The species of Impatiens Walleriana was first discovered in East Africa on the island of Zanzibar.
It is also called Impatiens Sultanii which was given in honour of the Sultan of the island.
Impatiens Walleriana is the world’s most widely grown ornamental plant and is cultivated by gardeners worldwide.
In 1986 Christpher Grey Wilson combined the Impatiens Holstii and Impatiens Hopsii in one single species. It was named Impatiens Walleriana in honour of Horace Waller a botanist.
The botanist Horace Waller with the Scottish explorer David Livingstone would collect imapatiens during their expeditions.
Impatiens Walleriana comes in different colours such as orange, salmon, red, lilac, mauve, pink and white. They flower from May right into the autumn’s frost.
Impatiens Capensis and Impatiens Pallida are two species native to North America.
The Capensis variety flowers come in yellow, orange or white. While the Pallida variety comes in yellow. Aside from the colour it is difficult to differentiate between both species.
The Native Americans made use of the Impatiens as a dye but they also used it for medicinal purposes.
Medicinally it was used to treat headaches or sore. It was also used to treat warts and kill bacteria and fungi. Both species were used to treat ivy rash.
The Impatiens Capensis and Impatiens Pallida are also known as Snapweed, Kicking Colt or “Jewelweed”. The name “Jewelweed” derives from water on the leaves of the flower that resembled gems.
Impatiens Hawkeri is native to Papua New Guinea where the native have grown, collected and traded the species for generations.
This species has been cultivated by Europeans since 1886. During the 1970 the Impatiens Hawkeri was crossed with an Indonesian species to yield a New Guinean hybrid.
The Impatiens Hawkeri has green leaves and magenta flowers.
Impatiens Glandulifera originates from Nepal and it is also called “Himalayan Balsam” or the “Policeman’s Helmet.” This was because the flower resembles a helmet.
The Europeans began cultivating the species in 1838 and now it is widely available in the British countryside. They are also considered as a weed by some.
This species yields pink and purple flowers.
The Impatiens Noli-Tangere is the only species native to Britain. However, they are also found in Continental Europe as well as Asia.
The flower from this species comes in yellow and grows in moist and shady places.
The name of the species was borrowed from the words Christ spoke to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection.
The French also extend this caution, it was recorded that girls would touch the plant. If they happen to not be virgins then the flower would recoil and fade.
The flower also has other names such as Jumping Betty, Jumping Jack, Quick in the Hand.
If you enjoyed our blog on the impatiens flower meaning and cultivation then make sure to not miss out on other plants and flowers under the dominion of the planet Jupiter.
Cumo, C. (Ed.). (2013). Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants [3 volumes]: From Acacia to Zinnia. ABC-CLIO
Dietz, S. T. (2022). The complete language of flowers the complete language of flowers: A definitive and illustrated history – pocket edition. Wellfleet Press.
Thiselton Dyer, T. F. (1994). Folklore of Plants. Llanerch Press.
Watts, D., & Watts, D. C. (2007). Dictionary of Plant Lore. Academic Press.