Impatiens noli-tangere

Impatiens noli-tangere

The Touch-me-not balsam (Impatiens noli-tangere L.) is an annual herbaceous species belonging to the Balsaminaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Order Geraniales,
Balsaminaceae family,
Genus Impatiens,
Species I. noli-tangere.
The terms are synonymous:
– Balsamina lutea Delarbre;
– Balsamina noli-tangere (L.) Scop .;
– Impatiens komarovii Pobed .;
– Impatiens lutea Lam. nom. illeg ..

Etymology –
The term Impatiens comes from impatiens impatiens: referring to the explosive release of the seeds when the ripe capsule is touched.
The specific epithet freight-tangere: do not touch, from the imperative of freight not to want and tangere to touch: for the fruits that when ripe open suddenly as soon as you touch them.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Touch-me-not balsam is an annual plant with a wide Eurasian distribution up to Japan. This plant is present in all regions of mainland Italy except in Puglia and Basilicata.
Its habitat is that of clearings of mixed deciduous and thermophilic beech woods or in high grass consortia, on loose, fresh and humus-rich soils, in rather shady locations, between about 300 and 1500 m, with optimum in the range lower montana.

Description –
The Touch-me-not balsam is an annual herbaceous plant, glabrous, light green in color and with buds at the base and 20-80 cm high.
The stem is tubular, fleshy and swollen at the nodes; sometimes translucent.
The leaves are alternate, fleshy, oval-oblong with obtuse toothed margin; petiole 1-3 cm.
The flowers are zygomorphic, hermaphrodite, arranged in axillary racemes 2-5, on thin peduncular filaments. The corolla is egg-yellow with red dots inside; 5 petaloid sepals of which the larger posterior one (2,5-3 cm) forms the curved nectariferous spur in the shape of a hook; middle petals 2,5 cm of which the lower one is larger and narrower, welded to the two upper ones. The ovary is superpentalocular, subsessile and pentadentate stigma.
The fruit is a loculicidal capsule with explosive dehiscence with 5 loculi, polysperm, glabrous and sub-cylindrical, 9.3-21 x 1.5-3.5 mm. The oval-pear-shaped, brown seeds measure 3.3-4.6 x 1.4-2.6 mm.

Cultivation –
Impatiens noli-tangere is a plant that occurs naturally in the wild but that can be grown in any reasonably good soil even if it has been noted that it grows well in heavy clay soils. However, it prefers a soil rich in well-drained humus and humus in a cool place.
The plant can be propagated by seed. These are contained in capsules that open forcefully when the seeds are ripe, expelling them at a considerable distance. The capsules are sensitive to touch even before the seed is ripe, making harvesting the seeds difficult but fun.
Sowing should be done when the minimum temperature is not below -15 ° C and therefore, preferably, in an unheated greenhouse nursery or in spring. A cold stratification period can help improve germination rates. When they are large enough to be handled, the seedlings can then be transplanted into individual pots or abroad.

Customs and Traditions –
Impatiens noli-tangere is a plant that, especially in the past, was often used in folk medicine for allegedly laxative, antibacterial, diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties; however, remember that it contains large quantities of oxalates and in excessive doses it can become toxic.
For this reason its use is not recommended for those suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, gout and kidney stones.
The plant is also edible and young, cooked shoots can be used.
The plant is occasionally used internally in the treatment of hemorrhoids and as a laxative and diuretic, but the dose must be carefully respected as large quantities are highly emetic.
In high doses it can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
It should also be remembered that in the Bach flower remedies the plant symbolizes those thoughtful people who act quickly, they want everything to be done without delay, to live alone to better follow their own rhythms of life.

Preparation Method –
The Touch-me-not balsam should be harvested at any time in summer.
The green parts of this plant are used, collected a little before flowering.
Furthermore, it must always be taken in the recommended doses.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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