1

My son recently added this plant to his garden in tropical East Africa. Our best efforts to identify it have failed. Can you help?

The flowers are about 1" in diameter and have a delicate scent similar to a rose. Leaves are 3"-4" long and fairly narrow with serrated margins. The plant is currently about 14" tall and growing.

Here's a picture of the plant when it was about 10" tall: The plant when we first got it from the nursery.

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I'm pretty sure that the plant is either Impatiens balsamina or a close relative. Note that I. balsamina is native to S and SE Asia, so if I'm right it's a garden escapee in your son's garden. It's grown as an annual in northern climates and considered "old fashioned" in most of the US. The common names for I. balsamina are Double Balsam (if flowers are doubled) and Rose Balsam (referring to the scent).

Here's a photo for you.

  • Thanks for the quick response! I. balsamina looks exactly right. It's not an escapee, though. We bought the plant at a nursery, but around here plants are unlabeled and the Swahili names for the plants aren't always helpful in finding the scientific or common English names. – Jason Smith Nov 19 '19 at 4:12
  • The seed pods can be fun, especially for small children - when they've swollen, they tend to "explode" when touched. – Jurp Nov 19 '19 at 14:24
  • Thanks for the tip! – Jason Smith Nov 20 '19 at 4:10

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