Nilgiri Balsam
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Nilgiri Balsam
P Native Photo: Shrishail Kulloli
Common name: Nilgiri Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens nilgirica    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)

Nilgiri Balsam is an erect, almost stemless herb, with bulbs small, spherical. Flowering stems are 1-2, about 20 cm long, 4-10-flowered, purplish; bracts broadly ovate or nearly round, concave, about 6 mm long; flower-stalks about 1 cm long, longer in fruits, reflexed tip slightly heart-shaped, about 4 mm long. Lip is about 1 cm long, boat-shaped, subpointed; spur short, broadly blunt. Wings are 3-lobed, about 2 cm long, base of lower two-lobed, hairy within; distal lobes broadly obovate, oblique, retuse, 5-6 mm long; middle lobe narrower, obovate-oblong, tip rounded, about 8 mm long; basal lobes further narrower, often smaller, oblong, blunt. Leaves are 1-2, arising from root, nearly round, prominently heart-shaped at base, lobes rounded, often overlapping, distantly apiculate-rounded toothed along margins, 2.5-4 cm broad, fleshy; primary nerves 7-9, fan-shaped, obscure above, distinct below; leaf-stalk 3-9 cm long, purplish. Capsules are ellipsoid, 1-2 cm long; seeds minute, ovate-obllong, compressed, hairless. Nilgiri Balsam is endemic to Nilgiri hills of Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu, found rarely, among grasses or on rocks at 2800 m altitude. Flowering: September.

Identification credit: Shrishail Kulloli Photographed in Nilgiri hills, Tamil Nadu.

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