Deceptive Balsam
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Deceptive Balsam
P Native Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Deceptive Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens decipiens    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)

Deceptive Balsam is a herb, about 30-70 cm tall. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils, in the upper parts of the plant. Flowers are bisexual, zygomorphic, violet or purple, flower-stalk slender, about 4-6 cm long, sepals 3, overlapping, 2 lateral ones flat, small, ovate, hairless, about 3-7 x 2-4 mm long, posterior sepal (Lip) large, petal-like, obovate, shallow boat-shaped, about 6-9 mm long, spurred, spur abruptly constricted from the lip, curved, thread-like, about 2-2.8 cm long, petals 5, free, purple, pink, mauve or white, upper standard petal, keeled or hoodlike, with a tail, tip shallow notched, about 1 cm long, lateral ones (wings or alae), fused in pairs, basal lobes ovate, distal lobes, ovate-elliptic, curved upwards, about 1.4 cm long. Stems are erect, simple or branched, fleshy, hairless. Leaves are alternate, ovate-elliptic to inverted-lanceshaped, about 4-11 x 2.2-5.5 cm across, base wedge-shaped or narrowed, margins rounded toothed, tip tapering, lateral veins about 7-9 on either side of the midrib, green above and paler beneath, leaf-stalk slender, about 2-4 cm long, exstipulate. Fruit indehiscent, capsule, narrow spindle-shaped or linear, about 0.5-1.5 cm long, hairless. Deceptive Balsam is native to East Himalaya.

Identification credit: Wojciech Adamowski Photographed near Mangan, Sikkim.

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