Quill-Spur Balsam
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Quill-Spur Balsam
ative Photo: Tabish
Common name: Quill-Spur Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens thomsonii    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)

Quill-Spur Balsam is an annual herb, 15-30 cm tall. Stem is erect, simple or branched, in upper part subtetragonous, hairless. Leaves are alternate or somewhat whorled in upper part of stem, lower leaves stalked, upper one stalkless. Stalks have 2 round basal glands. Leaf blade is ovate-lanceshaped, 6-12 cm, hairless, lateral veins 5-7 pairs, base wedge-shaped or narrow, margin coarsely toothed, tip long-pointed. Flowers are borne in upper leaf axils, in few flowered clusters, carried on erect peduncles. Flower-stalks are slender, up to 1.8 cm, bracteate at base. Bracts are narrowly lanceshaped, glandular, tip pointed. Flowers are 0.8-1.5 cm long, pink, white and yellow, spotted brown within. Lateral sepals are 2, green, obliquely ovate, tip with a fine point. Lower sepal is broadly funnel-shaped or sac-like, abruptly narrowed into an incurved, slender yellow spur. Upper petal is circular, tip flat with fine point. Lateral united petals are not clawed, 2-lobed; basal lobes yellow, red spotted, oblong, tip pointed. Distal lobes deep pink, hatchet-shaped, tip rounded. Anthers are obtuse. Capsule is pendulous, narrowly club-shaped, 1.5-2 cm. Seeds are many, oblong, smooth. Quill-Spur Balsam is found in temperate Himalayas from Kashmir to Kumaon and eastward to Sikkim, at altitudes of 3000-3700 m. Flowering: July-August.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Nubra Valley, Ladakh & Kashmir.

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