Modest Balsam
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Modest Balsam
P Native Photo: Shrishail Kulloli
Common name: Modest Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens modesta    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)
Synonyms: Impatiens tenuis Bedd.

Modest Balsam is a perennial herb, 8-30 cm tall, with rootstock tuberous, found growing on trees. Flowering stem is slender, erect, 10-20 cm long; bracts subulate, lanceshaped, thickened at tips. Flowers are pinkish or white about 1 cm across in 2-5 cm long racemes; flower-stalks thread-like. Upper sepals are broad, obovate or nearly round, lateral ones narrowly lanceshaped or subulate, incumbent on upper. Lip is shorter than petals. Standard is short, broader than long, entire. Wings are 3-lobed; lobes subequal, blunt; spur short, blunt, straight. Leaves arise from root, are ovate-heart-shaped or nearly round, pointed, rounded toothed-sawtoothed, 2.5-14 x 2-9 cm, sparsely hairy above, hairless and pale shining-glaucous beneath. Capsules are ellipsoid, 4-6 mm long, pointed at both ends, hairless; seeds minute with spiral hairs. Modest Balsam is endemic to Southern W. Ghats, found growing on moss cushions or lithophytes in damp shady forests at an altitude of 800-2000 m, in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Flowering: April-September.

Identification credit: Shrishail Kulloli Photographed in Kerala.

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