Hook-Tail Balsam
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Hook-Tail Balsam
P Native Photo: C. Rajasekar
Common name: Hook-Tail Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens uncinata    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)

Hook-Tail Balsam is a slender, erect herb, up to 25 cm tall, stems sparingly branched, leafy. Flowers are pink, about 2 cm across, characterized by the unusually large lateral sepals, for the size of the flower and the plant. Lateral sepals are obliquely ovate. Lip is shortly bell-shaped, spur inflated in middle, hooked at tip, short, stout. Standard is elliptic. Wings are 2 lobed, diverging. Lower lobe is obovate or sickle shaped, upper lobe is oblong, smaller. Flower-stalks are 1-2 cm long. Flowers are borne in umbels of 4-8, carried on solitary flower-cluster-stalks in leaf-axils, up to 8 cm long. Leaves are alternately arranged, ovate or nearly round, pointed or heart-shaped at base, rounded-toothed at margin, pointed or tapering at tip, 3-7 x 2-4 cm, membranous, often fringed with hairs at base, hairless or hairy on nerves above; leaf-stalks 1.5-4 cm long, glandular at tip. Capsules are ellipsoid, beaked, about 8 mm long; seeds few, spherical. Hook-Tail Balsam is endemic to Southern Western Ghats. Flowering: March-June.

Identification credit: C. Rajasekar Photographed in Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.

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