Bracted Balsam
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Bracted Balsam
A Native Photo: Thingnam Rajshree
Common name: Bracted Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens bracteata    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)
Synonyms: Impatiens fimbriata

Bracted Balsam is an annual herb, 30-40 cm tall. Stem is erect, simple or shortly branched in lower part, hairless or slightly velvet-hairy in upper part. Leaves are opposite or alternate, rarely whorled; leaf-stalk long, 0.5-2 cm, sparsely velvet-hairy; leaf blade ovate or ovate-lanceshaped, 4-6 x 2.5-4 cm, below slightly velvet-hairy on veins, above sparsely or densely adpressed hairy, lateral veins 7 or 8 pairs, margin rounded toothed-sawtoothed, tip pointed or tapering. Flowers are borne at branch-ends, occasionally in leaf-axils, in erect umbels or 4-8-flowered dense racemes. Flower-cluster-stalks are 1.5-6 cm. Flower-stalks have bracts at base; bracts linear, fringed with hairs. Flowers are pink-purple or purple, small. Lateral sepals 2, lanceshaped. Lower sepal is boat-shaped, with an incurved spur 8-9 mm. Upper petal is ovate-round, lower midvein prominently crested; lateral united petals are clawed; basal lobes round, small; distal lobes subovate; ear inflexed. Anthers are blunt, ovary oblong. Capsule is elliptic, narrowed at both ends, hairless. Seeds are obovoid, compressed, hairy. Bracted Balsam is found in NE India, mainly Meghalaya, at altitudes of 2700 m. Flowering: August-September.

Identification credit: Wojciech Adamowski Photographed in Cherapunjee, Meghalaya.

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