Gardner Balsam
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Gardner Balsam
ative Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Gardner Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens gardneriana    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)
Synonyms: Impatiens setosa

Gardner Balsam is an annual herb 30-40 cm high, stems creeping at base and rooting, ascending branched or not. It is named for Hon. Edward Gardner, representing the East India Company in the early 19th century. Leaves are opposite and whorled, ovate-oblong or elliptic-lanceshaped, wedge-shaped at base, sawtoothed at margin, tapering at tip, 3-12 x 1-4 cm, fringed with hairs at margin towards base, sparsely velvet-hairy; leaf-stalks are 1.2-3.5 cm long, velvet-hairy. Flower-cluster-stalks are thread-like, 2-3.5 cm long, hairless. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils, solitary or in fascicles, about 2.5 cm across, pink. Lateral sepals are ovate or ovate-lanceshaped, tapering, fringed with hairs. Lip is boat-shaped, spur curved upwards, about 1.8 cm long, slender. Standard is nearly round-obovate, apiculate, dorsally keeled. Wings 2-lobed; lobes obovate, distal lobe larger. Capsules are round in cross-section, about 1.5 cm long; seeds hairy. Gardner Balsam is endemic to Southern Western Ghats, Karnataka and Kerala. Flowering: July-November.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Sakleshpur, Karnataka.

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