Runner-Forming Balsam
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Runner-Forming Balsam
A Native Photo: Jis Sebastian
Common name: Runner-Forming Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens stolonifera    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)

Runner-Forming Balsam is a herb up to 30 cm tall, having leafless flowering stem. Stems are tuberous, 1-2 × 1-2 cm, carrying runners, often connected by runners. Leaves arise from root, fleshy. Leaf-stalks are 6-15 cm long, hairless, channeled at upper side, rounded at lower side; blade 4-8 x 4-6.5 cm, round or rounded, heart-shaped at base, rounded or with a short sharp point at tip, margin distantly sawtoothed, bristly above, hairless and glaucous below. Lateral veins are 5-8 pairs, prominently impressed above, faint below. Flowering stems are raceme-like, 30-45 cm long, hairless, erect, 6-20 flowered. This balsam is closely similar to Leafless-Stem Balsam. It can be distinguished by the presence of runners, by the long and thick, curved spur. Spur in Leafless-Stem Balsam is slender. Leaves of Leafless-Stem Balsam do not have nerves distinctly impressed above. Flowers of Leafless-Stem Balsam vary from white to pink. Runner-Forming Balsam grows in wet water dripping rock crevices among the grasses at elevations of 1000-1500 m in Southern Western Ghats, particularly Kerala. Flowering: July-September.

Identification credit: P.S. Sivaprasad Photographed in Devikulam, Munnar, Kerala.

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