Indian Balsam, Himalayan Balsam
or Policeman’s helmet

Impatiens glandulifera

preview hoep 00014 impatiens glandulifera druesiges springkrautThe Indian Balsam is not only a very attractive plant, but also has developed a remarkable reproduction method. The blossoms start off as male, because initially only the stamens with pollen grain mature (protandry). Bumble bees and other insects that are attracted by the nectar contained in the flowers, stripe along the stamens and thereby carry forward mature pollen in their fur to other blossoms. These might already be in their second, purely female development phase, so that the pollen can be received by the stygma. It is an effective method to prevent selfing.

Fascinating is also the manner of spreading the seeds. Ripe seed pods have an incredibly high internal cell pressure that leads to an explosion-like burst initiated by only the lightest touch, ejecting the seeds. Quite understandable that these herbs in German are also known as „Rühr-mich-nicht-an“ (Don’t touch me).