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

Redwing Balsam is a threatened plant species, thought to be extinct. It is an undershrub, up to 1 m tall, with stems angled. Flowers are borne in racemes in leaf-axils; flower-cluster-stalks patent or slightly drooping, slender, 2.5-4.5 cm long. Flowers are about 1.5 cm long; bracts ovate, 8-15 mm long, persistent. Lateral sepals are nearly round, about 6 mm across, cream-coloured. Lip is funnel-shaped, about 1.2 cm long, pinkish; spur tubular, up curved into a semicircle, cream-coloured. Standard is ovate, 7-8 mm long. Wings are scarlet, 1.5-1.6 cm long, 2-lobed; basal lobes triangular-ovate, pointed or blunt; distal lobes semiovate, somewhat pointed, 1-1.2 cm long. Leaves alternate, elliptic-lanceshaped, tapering, rounded toothed-sawtoothed with apiculate crenations, 8-17 x 3.5-7 cm, narrowing into leaf-stalk; nerves impressed above, slightly prominent beneath; decurrent part of blade with 4-8 marginal, flattened, white glands. Capsules are ovoid, pointed, about 6 mm long, accrescent; seeds pyriform, 1.5-2 mm long, mottled brown, minutely papillose. Redwing Balsam is endemic to Southern Western Ghats in Kerala (Idukki Dist. - Nemakad Gap), found in the grasslands at an altitude of 2000 m. Flowering: September.

Identification credit: Shrishail Kulloli, A G Pandurangan, R Ramasubbu Photographed in Kerala.

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