John's Balsam
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John's Balsam
P Native Photo: Shrishail Kulloli
Common name: John's Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens johnii    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)

John's Balsam is an erect shrub, up to 1 m tall, with stems branching at base, dilated at nodes. The species name, johnii, is in honor of German naturalist Christoph Samuel John (1747-1813), who was a missionary in India from 1771 until his death. Flowers are borne singly in leaf-axils, about 4 cm long; flower-stalks up to 6.5 cm long, hairy; bracts lanceshaped, about 3 mm long. Lateral sepals are ovate, about 1.3 cm long, fringed with hairs along margins. Lip is boat-shaped, mucronate; spur slender, up to 4 cm long, curved, crimson at lower end. Standard is boat-shaped, keeled on dorsal side, pink, hairless. Wings bipartite, deep pink; distal lobes longer than basal ones. Leaves are opposite, altemate or whorled, ovate-elliptic, tapering, rounded-toothed to sawtoothed, about 13.5 x 5 cm, hairy above and on midnerve and nerves beneath; leaf-stalks up to 8 cm long, hairy. Capsules are about 2.8 cm long, beaked; seeds 5, pear-shaped, tuberculed. John's Balsam is endemic to Southern W. Ghats, found on stream beds at about 1400 m, in Kerala (Kallar Valley, Idukki Dstt.). Fllowering: June-September.

Identification credit: Shrishail Kulloli Photographed in Kerala.

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