A family of herbs that have brittle, translucent stems, and simple leaves. The flowers have 3–5 sepals and 5 petals, usually all coloured and strongly zygomorphic, the lowest sepal being large, spurred, and petal-like. The fruits are capsules, exploding if touched when ripe. Several are cultivated for their showy flowers. There are 2 genera, one (Hydrocera) monotypic, occurring only in South-east Asia, the other (Impatiens) (balsams, or touch-me-nots) of about 850 species, mostly of tropical Asia and Africa, but with a few in northern temperate America and Eurasia, and in S. Africa.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.