Heart-Leaf Balsam
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Heart-Leaf Balsam
A Native Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Heart-Leaf Balsam • Malayalam: Thottachinungi
Botanical name: Impatiens cordata    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)

Heart-Leaf Balsam is a flaccid, erect herb, 15-30 cm tall. Stems are prostrate and rooting below, hairless. Leaves are alternate, ovate-heart-shaped, tapering, obscurely rounded toothed, crenatures with minute cilia, 4-7.5 x 3-45 cm, membranous, nerves slender with scattered hairs on both surfaces; leaf-stalk 2.5-7.5 cm long. Flower-cluster-stalks 5-10 cm long, at branch-ends and in leaf-axils, 3-4-flowered; bracts broadly ovate, green. Flowers are borne in umbels, lilac with purple centre or white with crimson near centre. Lateral sepals almost equalling standard, large, ovate, tapering. Lip boat-shaped; spur slender, incurved, about 2 cm long. Wings with basal lobes small, incurved, fleshy; distal lobes almost round, spreading. Capsules ellipsoid, beaked, hairless; seeds almond-shaped, 11, 12 or 18 in capsule, about 2.5 mm long, brown with a cluster of white hairs around the margin. This Balsam is closely related to lmpatiens leptura Hook. f. but differs mainly in leaf shape and seed character. Heart-Leaf Balsam is found in Southern W. Ghats south of Palakkad gap at an altitude of 1200-2000 m along streams, sometimes on trees. Flowering: December-March.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu.

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