Julius' research had located several people who had visited Thailand, met with the photographer who posted the now amous internet photographs and knew a great deal about the rare Impatiens species. Julius had also tracked down an Impatiens expert in the United Kingdom, Ray Morgan, who was able to furnish the sought after original botanical publication containing the description, a drawing of Impatiens psittacina, and other helpful information. There is a link at the top of this page to an article by Ray which includes information on Impatiens psittacina.
According to an informed source in Thailand, the plant needs moist humid rain forest conditions. Far wetter than can be found in the majority of North America. An extremely knowledgeable source who is familiar with the plant has recently provided information the plant is known to grow in limestone soil with a pH that is higher than normal. That is likely the explanation for the "blue" coloration due to a botanical phenomenon known as "anthocyanins" (a condition where water soluble pigments appear red to blue) depending on the soil pH. The plant is apparently truly rare in nature and is not the "invasive vine" some on the internet who are not truly familiar with the species have speculated. As for the now famous Thailand Parrot Flower photos, those were taken by the Thai grower of a plant collected in 2001 near Chiang Mai, N. Thailand. But like many flower species, this impatiens has a limited blooming season. The blooming season for Impatiens psittacina in Thailand is October and November. And this impatiens grows tall!
In his scientific description (bottom of this page) Hooker describes the species as being substantially less than one meter tall. That is likely due to the fact he never actually saw the plant in the wild and based his writings on the observations of an untrained individual, Mr. Hildebrand. Unlike the Impatiens you grow in your yard, according to the cover a Thai garden magazine (see info right), this plant grows to almost 6 feet tall (1.8 meters)! The species has a thick 1/2 inch (1.5cm) stem but normal 2 1/2 inch (6cm) leaves. We have no accurate dimensions on the bloom but a photo comparison of the flower to a leaf indicates the flower would be approximately 2 inches (5cm). Hooker's description (below) differs slightly from that when he states the plant is 1.5 to 2 feet tall (less than 60cm). Hooker admits he never actually saw the species in the wild and was basing his description partially on second hand information provided by a non-scientist.
This rare plant is not the attractive small Impatiens plant normally sold for landscaping. This Impatiens is tall like a bad weed and apparently will not survive without moist, humid, tropical, rain forest conditions. The flower is beautiful but even if you could keep it alive is not suited for the average front yard garden unless you like weeds, high humidity, and lots of rain! You likely would not like the plant if you found one! (See more photos on page 2.)
Like most Impatiens the plant is variable. Variations within plant species are quite common! Not all leaves and flowers of the same species are exactly alike. I can show you plants in my atrium where different specimens of the same species don't look exactly alike and have a variety of coloration and growth forms. Botanists and "plant nuts" disagree about those factors all the time which is one reason why so many plants have multiple scientific names, most of them now synonyms (same plant, other name)! Please note the Thai grower (who has a botanical background) stated there are color variations within this species in nature.