Impatiens hochstetteri (?)

Impatiens hochstetteri from Kakamega Forest, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Observed adjacent to a roadway through Kakamega Forest Preserve, Kenya, Africa. 12 October 2010.

close-up of the flower, the spur behind has a nectary at its end, photo © Michael Plagens

This flowering shrub, about 1-½ m tall, was found growing adjacent to a tarmac access road through Kakamega Forest. The flower is bilaterally symmetrical, i.e. an imaginary line through center will reveal two mirror-image halves. There are five united petals. Emerging from the flower is a long spur behind. At the end of this spur is a gland that produces sugar-nectar to attract bees or butterflies. In this case only a pollinator with a long ‘proboscis’ can reach it. In this way the plant can select out many inefficient pollinators.

The margins of the leaf petioles have sharp curved spines.

Balsaminaceae -- Balsam Family

developing fruit of an Impatiens, photo © Michael Plagens

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Created on 03 March 2011, updated 28 Aug. 2013