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The Congo cockatoo

What a ridiculous name and a fabulously quirky plant this is. Apparently it’s a rare and much sought-after tropical that I happened to stumbled upon whilst visiting Hardy Exotics, a fantastic nursery in deepest darkest Cornwall. Impatiens niamniamensis, common name Congo cockatoo, parrot impatiens or simply parrot plant, is a species of flowering plant in the family Balsaminaceae.

In the DR Congo the leaves of Impatiens niamniamensis are eaten as a vegetable, to produce a vegetable salt and as a cure for heart troubles and illnesses caused by evil spirits. I decided not to eat my cockatoo plant, choosing instead to include it in a scheme for my latest living sphere, where it’s doing very nicely. Having not travelled that far it obviously feels quite at home here in deepest darkest evil spirit free Devon!

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