Coming to us from the upper elevation East African rain forests, (it is endemic to Ethiopia to southern Tanzania and can be found on Mt. Kenya as high as 8,000 ft) tinctoria is a bit rare and will astound you with its 3-inch wide, orchid-like white blooms. Splashes of red in the throat double the drama of this curtsying flower, spring through autumn. And its speckled red spur can grow up to 5 inches long! If that weren't enough, it will sweetly scent the morning and evening air; stick your nose into it for some pretty perfume. A large plant, it has large dark green leaves and bamboo-like stems. Plant it in filtered bright shade, morning sun, or in areas with mild climates, full sun with regular water. This plant is deciduous with exposure to cold. Coming from the rainforests, it is uncomfortable in the extreme heat of arid climates. Bloom begins in July and, lo and behold, and at the time of writing, it is Thanksgiving and it is still blooming like crazy here at Dancing Oaks, perfuming the air!
The name "tinctoria" refers to the dye that women of the region collect from the cooked and pounded tubers to decorate the hands and nails. It is ornamental, but purportedly also a fungicide and skin toughener. Fabric is dyed with it, particularly when prepared with two other Impatiens species.
Mature size: up to 6 ft T & W if in ideal conditions, but more commonly 5 ft T & 3 ft WMinimum temperature: 0° F