Impatiens hawkeri (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Impatiens hawkeri W. Bull

Protologue: Bull’s Catalogue: 8 (1886) & Gard. Chron. 25: 760, fig. 168 (1886).

Vernacular names

  • Papua New Guinea: nagatumo (Kabiufo, Eastern Highlands), kolumbata (Marawaka, Eastern Highlands), imda (Asekei, Morobe Province).


New Guinea, Manus Islands, New Ireland, New Britain and the Solomon Islands, but widely cultivated elsewhere under different names.


In Papua New Guinea, the whole plant is cooked and eaten by children with stomach-ache. Mixed with leaves of Plectranthus scutellarioides (L.) R.Br., the leaves are rubbed on the stomach of pregnant women to help relieve labour pains.


A perennial herb, 0.5-1 m tall, stems decumbent to erect, often tinged red; leaves in whorls of 3-7, linear to elliptical to oblong, 4-24.5 cm × 0.5-6 cm, base abruptly cuneate to gradually attenuate, apex acute to long-acuminate, margin shallowly crenate to serrate, the upper teeth ending in a short apiculum, 1-2 mm long, pale to deep green, bronze, reddish or purplish or variegated, petiole slender, 0.5-6 cm long; flowers solitary, pedicel slender, ascending, 4-12 cm long, lateral sepals ovate, long acuminate, 8-15 mm × 3.5-6 mm, lower sepal shallowly navicular, 9-21 mm long, abruptly constricted into a curved filiform spur 3-10 cm long, dorsal petal obcordate to suborbicular, shallowly emarginate, rather flat, 14-29 mm × 16-35 mm, with a shallow crest on the back, lateral united petals 19-42 mm long, shallowly to deeply emarginate, upper pair slightly smaller than lower pair; corolla white, pink, lilac, purple, orange, pale red, scarlet, crimson or magenta; capsule fusiform, 18-33 mm × 5-9 mm, glabrous. I. hawkeri grows in moist, shaded or semi-shaded locations in montane or submontane forests, particularly along stream and river margins, at (200-)400-3150 m altitude. It is a very variable species: in addition to the numerous cultivars, 15 groups are recognized in the wild forms, which are differentiated mainly by geographical region, flower colour and leaf-form.

Selected sources



Rosna Mat Taha