Funnel Balsam
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Funnel Balsam
A Native Photo: Saroj Kasaju
Common name: Funnel Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens infundibularis    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)

Funnel Balsam is a herb about 1-2 ft tall, with stems erect, round, hairless, and with few pink flowers in 2-4 flowered clusters in leaf-axils. Flower-cluster-stalks are about 2-4 mm long, hairless. Flowers are bisexual, zygomorphic, about 3-3.5 cm across, flower-stalk slender, about 1.5-2.5 cm long, sepals 3, overlapping, 2 lateral ones flat, small, linear, tip apiculate, hairless, about 2-3 mm long, posterior sepal (Lip) large, petal-like, shaped like the end of a trumpet, about 7-9 mm long, spurred, spur thread-like, abruptly constricted, about 1.5-2 cm long. Upper standard petal is obovate, hoodlike on the back, about 6-7 mm long. Lateral petals (wings) are fused in pairs, bilobed, about 1 cm long, reddish. Stamens are 5, anthers bi-locular. ovary 5-celled. Leaves are alternate, ovate-oblong to narrow inverted-lanceshaped, about 3-6 x 0.8-2 cm across, base wedge-shaped or long narrowed, margins nearly entire or shallow rounded toothed with few thread-like appendages about 1 mm long, tip long tapering, lateral veins about 14-18 on either side of the midrib, papery, green above and paler whitish beneath, minutely velvet-hairy both above and beneath, leaf-stalk slender, about 1.5-4.5 cm long, stipule glands digitate, about 2 mm long. Fruit is narrow spindle-shaped, about 0.8-1.4 x 0.3-0.5 cm across, swollen in the middle, loculicidally splitting by 5 valves, hairless. Funnel Balsam is native to Eastern Himalayas, at altitudes of about 300-1500 m, probably endemic to Sikkim and West Bengal.

Identification credit: Rajib Gogoi Photographed in Soureni, Mirik, West Bengal.

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