Marsh Henna
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Marsh Henna
P Native Photo: Shrishail Kulloli
Common name: Marsh Henna, Floating Balsam
Botanical name: Hydrocera triflora    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)
Synonyms: Impatiens angustifolia, Impatiens triflora, Impatiens natans

Marsh Henna is an aquatic or semi aquatic perennial herb closely related to Balsams, 1-2 m tall, with stems soft, often spongy and rooting at lower nodes. Leaves are alternate or spiral, stalkless or nearly stalkless, linear-lanceshaped to elliptic, wedge-shaped at base, sawtoothed at margin, pointed to long-tapering at tip, 3-12 x 0.8-1.5 cm, greenish above, pale beneath; stipular glands 2, stalkless. Flower-cluster-stalks are 5-8 mm long; bracts lanceshaped, falling off; flower-stalks 12-15 mm long. Flowers are borne in in 3-10 flowered in cymes in leaf-axils, white with purple. Lateral sepals are 4 in 2 pairs; outer pair elliptic to elliptic-oblong, apiculate; the inner elliptic-inverted-lanceshaped, blunt. Lower sepal boat-shaped, tapering into a spur. Dorsal petal obovate, hoodlike; lateral petals 4, free; lower pair oblong; the upper elliptic to elliptic-obovate. Ovary hairless. Fruit a septicidally splitting capsular spherical berry, 8-10 mm, red turning purple, 5-seeded. Marsh Henna is found in South India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China. Flowering: June-October.

Identification credit: Shrishail Kulloli Photographed in Kerala.

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