... growing and hybridizing all kinds of plants in zone 6b Maryland since the 1980's.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


These flowers are so different looking that you probably wouldn't think they're even from the same genus -but they are both Impatiens.
Towards the end of summer, I bought two six-packs of white bedding Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) from Wal-Mart for 80 cents total. What a bargain! I put them all in one big pot and they've really taken off. I know there's hardly any chance that they'll cross with the native Jewelweed ( Impatiens capensis), but what's it gonna hurt to try.
First picture shows the two radically different Impatiens flowers. The top flower of jewelweed has its spur petal split open so that you can better see the internal spotting.

In the second picture, I used "Paint" and crudely cut and pasted pieces from a picture of dissected flowers to show the corresponding parts of the two.


  1. Almost all interspecific impatiens crosses are impossible without tissue culture. There are lots of big breeding companies that would give anything for yellow-orange color in a typical bedding impatiens, but despite pouring a lot of money into it, haven't gotten very far.

  2. Hi Joseph,
    As we'd expected, no seeds made it to maturity. But the pollinated pods did hold on abnormally long. One even got big enough to do the normal split and curl. So there must be something going on, at least early embryo development maybe. What I'd wanted to try was a mixed pollination using capensis and regular (walleriana) pollen together. My hope was for an odd fertilization event where the embryo was from capensis and the endosperm from walleriana. This sort of thing is pretty well documented in maize. Problem was, this white Impatiens didn't appear to make any pollen. Maybe it's a male sterile type??? Anyway, the dreaded downy mildew showed up and decimated the plants. So experiment over for this season.
    Now that I've seen what downy mildew does to Impatiens, I think resistance to this plague might be even more desirable for the big breeding companies than yellow-orange color.
    Talk to you later, Tom