Hook-Petal Balsam
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Hook-Petal Balsam
P Native Photo: Momang Taram
Common name: Hook-Petal Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens uncipetala    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)
Synonyms: Impatiens yui

Hook-Petal Balsam is a newly described (2016) Balsam species, which is a perennial fleshy herb, sparsely branched, up to 1 foot tall. Flowers are borne singly in leaf-axils, whitish in bud. Flowers are white with pink flush, carried on green flower-stalks 1.5-2 cm long. Lateral sepals are 2, relatively large, ovate, greenish, with some red spots, velvet-hairy, up to 1.1 × 0.8 cm, tip tapering, margin fringed. Lower sepal is shaped like the end of a trumpet, pinkish white, up to 2.8 cm deep; mouth beaked, up to 2 cm; spur white or pale green, up to 1 cm long, curved, tip white. Dorsal petal is pinkish white with greenish midrib, rhomboid, 1.7 x 1.2 cm, tip tapering, dorsal side not ridged. Lateral united petals are whitish to rose, bilobed, up to 2.7 cm long, tip pointed, basal lobe up to 1 cm wide, triangular, with a hook-like structure; distal lobe oblong, somewhat axe-shaped, tip blunt or pointed, 5-6 mm wide, ear absent or inprominent. Stamens are 5, united, enclosing ovary, up to 0.5 cm tall. The bract is at the middle of flower-stalk, persistent, lanceshaped, green, tip pointed. Stem is green, slightly velvet-hairy, round. Leaves are distributed evenly along stem, alternate; stalked to nearly stalkless, leaf-stalk 0.2-1 cm long, green. Leaf blade elliptic, 1.7-7 x 1.5-4 cm, slightly velvet-hairy on both sides, base wedge-shaped, tip pointed, margin rounded toothed, bristly between teeth, veins 4-5 pairs. Capsule is linear, green, smooth, to 4 cm long. Hook-Petal Balsam is found from E Nepal to Sikkim, Darjeeling area, E Arunachal Pradesh, NW Yunnan, at altitudes of 2200-2400 m.

Identification credit: Momang Taram Photographed in Ziro valley, Lower Subansiri, Arunachal Pradesh.

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