Impatiens psittacina

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Impatiens psittacina
Illustration by John Nugent Fitch accompanying Hooker's description
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Balsaminaceae
Genus: Impatiens
Species: I. psittacina
Binomial name
Impatiens psittacina

Impatiens psittacina, known variously as the "parrot flower" or "parrot balsam" is a species of balsam from Southeast Asia that was described by the botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker and was noted for its flower that resemble a "flying cockatoo". It is known from Thailand, Burma and parts of India.[1]


A balsam, Impatiens psittacina, or parrot flower, is a very rare impatiens species discovered in the Shan States of Upper Burma by Arthur Hedding Hildebrand, a British official. Seeds of it were presented to the Royal Gardens (Kew) in 1899 and it flowered in 1900 and a description was published in 1901 by Joseph Dalton Hooker who gave the common name of "cockatoo balsam".[2]

The specimen in Kew did not set seed but the capsules are said not to explode and disperse seeds as in many Impatiens.

The species grows in the wild in a small region of north Thailand (near Chiang Mai), Burma, and in the north-east Indian state of Manipur. The species name "psittacina" is Latin for "parrot-like",[3] in reference to parrot-shaped blooms viewed from the side.

The Thai government has prohibited exporting this species, so it is not in cultivation.[4] Counterfeit seeds are frequently sold.[5]


The plant is erect and branches profusely and grows compactly to a height of about half a metre. Like other Impatiens species it has thick stems, the leaves have a serrulate margin. The flower is light purple and carmine red. The lateral sepals are orbicular and light green. The lower sepal is bulbous and narrows into a hooked spur tipped in carmine. The dorsal petal is orbicular and hooded while the lateral united petals are long.[1]

This species of Impatiens is known in Thai as "Dork Nok Khaew" which translates to "Flower Bird Parrot".[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Morgan, P. Raymond (2007). Impatiens: the vibrant world of Busy Lizzies, Balsams, and Touch-me-nots. Timber Press. p. 205. ISBN 0881928526.
  2. ^ Hooker, JD (1901). "Impatiens psittacina : Native of Burma. plate 7809". Curtis Botanical Magazine. 127.
  3. ^ "Plant Latin Dictionary".
  4. ^ "Thailand Parrot Flower".
  5. ^ "eBay screeshot of August 8, 2015".

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