Description: Annual or perennial succulent herbs.
Leaves alternate or opposite, simple; stipules absent.
Inflorescences terminal or axillary, flowers in small umbellate cymes or solitary. Flowers zygomorphic, bisexual, mostly 5-merous. Sepals 3 [–5], 1 generally much enlarged and ± spurred. Petals 5, distinct or each lateral pair ± fused and often apparently single and 2-lobed. Stamens 5, filaments free at base, expanded and fused above; anthers adhering and forming a cap over the ovary. Ovary superior, 5-locular, with 2 or 3 ovules in each loculus; stigma simple, 5-lobed, ± sessile.
Fruit a succulent capsule, dehiscing elastically into 5 twisted valves; seeds glabrous or hairy.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 4 genera, c. 600 species, cosmopolitan, chiefly tropical & subtropical regions. Australia: 1 genus, 3 species naturalised in N.S.W.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Balsaminaceae, Order: Ericales)
Text by S. M. Hastings
|One genus in NSW: Impatiens|