Having Fun with Impatiens Seed Pods

Impatiens pallida spur

One of my childhood favorite plants is Impatiens. Not only does it have beautiful flowers, but more importantly, it has explosive seed pods!

Impatiens golden gate park
San Francisco Golden Gate Park Stow Lake

When wandering around in San Francisco Golden Gate Park during the pleasant summer days, I ran into a field of Impatiens. The soft yellow flowers caught my eye from a distance. I walked closer to check and confirmed it was Impatiens pallida. The most interesting part of this flower is the little hook-looking tail (spur) in the back. Having a spur is a very common trait in the balsam family (Balsaminaceae) flowers. As I recalled how much I loved the popping seed pods, I was excited and quickly looked for ripe seed pods. Luckily, there are plenty of them ready to pop! 

Impatiens pallida spur
Impatiens flower

Impatiens seed pods explode once touched. Hence, Impatiens has the common name, touch-me-not. By shooting those black seeds out, Impatiens gets a higher chance of dispersing its offspring. It is an shooting mechanism for reproduction.

Impatiens seed pods

I went after the big seed pods with black seeds inside. It was fun to lightly squeeze the seed pods to make them pop! Below is what the seed pod looks like after it has exploded.

Impatiens seeds

If you would like to see those popping seed pods in action, I found a BBC YouTube video capturing those interesting footage. Below is the video. 

This field of yellow Impatiens has become one of my favorite spots in San Francisco Golden Gate Park. You can see the field right next to Stow Lake on Strawberry Hill island. It’s a place that we get to have fun with nature like children again. If lucky, you may run into some cute ducklings and raccoons too!

Golden gate park duckings
Golden gate park raccoon

Questions? Feel free to leave a comment below or reach me here.

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One reply to “Having Fun with Impatiens Seed Pods”

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