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Impatiens parviflora - Small yellow balsam

French name:  Balsamine à petites fleurs
Dutch name: Klein springzaad
Family: Balsaminaceae
Group: Vascular plants
Origin: Asia
Habitat: terrestrial
Introduction:  accidental
ISEIA Score : 10
Naturalization in Belgium
First observation in the wild: 1868
Invasion stage: spread
Spatial distribution: widespread
Reproduction in the wild: yes
Dispersion potential: high
Natural habitats: high
More on invasiveness: I. parviflora is the only exotic plant being dispersed on a large scale in European forests. It prefers shaded and moist nutrient-rich stands but can also develop in acidic conditions. It thrives in beech and alder forests, but also in parks, hedgerows, forest edges, waste grounds and ruderal habitats. Its development is favoured by habitat perturbation and forest management practices (e.g. soil compaction). It easily penetrates into degraded and floristically impoverished communities, but dense groundlayer may provide an effective barrier to its expansion. Small yellow balsam is intolerant to late frost. Seeds may be dispersed over long distances via epizoochory (mammal fur) and water.
Distribution in Belgium
Established populations
absent from district
isolated populations (1-5 localities per district)
widespread (>5 localities per district)
Endangered areas
low risk
medium risk
high risk

Endangered Natura 2000 habitats ():
forest habitats: 9120916091E0*91F0
Impacts on Species
Predation / Herbivory: low
Competition: medium
Disease transmission: low
Genetic effects: low
Impacts on Ecosystems
Nutrient cycling: unknown
Physical alteration: low
Natural successions: medium
Food web alteration: low
More on impacts: Impatiens parviflora can make dense populations in invaded sites, e.g. under tree canopies. Reduction of plant richness and potential competition of several native forest herbaceous plant species (e.g. Asarum europaeum, Galeobdolon luteum, Galium odoratum, Impatiens noli-tangere and Mercurialis perennis) were reported in the literature. However, detailed impact on native vegetation is still poorly understood and seems to be rather limited.
Data Source & References
Authors: Branquart Etienne, Vanderhoeven Sonia, Van Landuyt Wouter, Van Rossum Fabienne, Verloove Filip and Vervoort Arnaud
Published on:  05 December 2007
Last update:  22 December 2010
AEF (2006)
Cartes provisoires de la distribution de néophytes en Wallonie.
Unpublished document.
Chmura, D. & Sierka, E. (2007)
The invasibility of deciduous forest communities after disturbance: A case study of Carex brizoides and Impatiens parviflora invasion.
Forest Ecology and Management 242(2-3): 487-495.
Chmura, D. & Sierka, E. (2006)
Relation between invasive plant and species richness of forest floor vegetation: a study of Impatiens parviflora DC.
Polish Journal of Ecology 54(3): 417-428.
Essl, F. & Rabitsch, W. (2003)
Neobiota in Osterreich.
Umweltbundesamt, 432 pp.
Godefroid, S. & Koedam, N. (2010)
Comparative ecology and coexistence of introduced and native congeneric forest herbs: Impatiens parviflora and I. noli-tangere.
Plant Ecology and Evolution 143(2): 119-127.
Godefroid, S. & Koedam, N. (2004)
Interspecific variation in soil compaction sensitivity among forest floor species.
Biological Conservation 119: 207-217.
Lambinon, J., Delvosalle, L. & Duvigneaud, J. (2004)
Nouvelle fore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines.
Editions du Patrimoine du Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise.
Lysik, M. (2008)
Ten years of change in ground-layer vegetation of European beech forest in the protected area (Ojcow National Park, South Poland).
Polish Journal of Ecology 56(1): 17-31.
Muller, S. (2004)
Plantes invasives en France : état des connaissances et propositions d'actions.
Publication scientifique du Museum d'Histoire naturelle, Patrimoines naturels n°62.
Obidzinski, T. & Symonides, E. (2000)
The influence of the groundlayer structure on the invasion of small balsam (Impatiens parviflora DC.) to natural and degraded forests.
Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae 69: 311–318.
Perrins J., Fitter A. & Williamson M. (1983)
Population biology and rates of invasion of three introduced Impatiens species in the British Isles.
Journal of Biogeography 20: 33–44.
Schmitz, G. (1998)
Impatiens parviflora D.C. (Balsaminaceae) as a neophyte in Central European forests and woodland - a biozonal analysis.
Zeitschrift für ökologie und Naturschutz 7(4): 193-206.
Toussaint, B. & Bedouet, F. (2005)
Les espèces végétales invasives des milieux aquatiques et humides du bassin Artois-Picardie.
Agence de l'Eau Artois-Picardie, 38 pp.
Trepl, L. (1984)
Über Impatiens parviflora DC. als Agriophyt in Mitteleuropa.
Dissertationes Botanicae 73: 1-400.
Van Landuyt, W., Hoste, I., Vanhecke, L., Van den Bremt, P. Vercruysse, W. & De Beer, D. (2006)
Atlas van de Flora van Vlaanderen en het Brussels gewest.
Nationale Plantentuin en het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek i.s.m. Flo.Wer vzw.
Verloove, F. (2006)
Catalogue of the Neophytes in Belgium (1800-2005).
Scripta Botanica Belgica 39, 89 pp.
Wittenberg, R. (2005)
An inventory of alien species and their threat to biodiversity and economy in Switzerland.
CABI Bioscience Switzerland Centre report to the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape. The environment in practice no. 0629: 155p.
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