Rusty Nilgiri Balsam
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Rusty Nilgiri Balsam
A Native Photo: S. Jeevith
Common name: Rusty Nilgiri Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens rufescens    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)

Rusty Nilgiri Balsam is a terrestrial herb, 10-25 cm tall, with erect, hairless stem. Various parts of the plant are rusty hairy, hence the name. Flowers are large, about 2 cm across, borne singly in leaf-axils, rose-pink or purplish, binate or fascicled. Flower-stalks are about the length of leaves, hairy. Lateral sepals 0.8 x 2.5 cm, linear, hairy, smaller than wings. Lip is saclike, without spur, bottom of lip not with a small pit. Standard petal is rose-pink, round, apiculate, distinctly keeled, with a short sharp point, not bigger than all other petals and sepals. Wings are 2-lobed; basal lobes rounded, distal lobes larger than basal ones. Leaves are opposite, 3-5 cm long, elliptic or heart-shaped-obovate, borne on stem, pointed or tapering at tip, sawtoothed, bristly above, hairy on nerves beneath, shortly stalked; leaf-stalks when not flattened and decurrent on stems. Capsules are ovoid, 1 cm long; seeds dark brown, smooth and shining. Rusty Nilgiri Balsam is endemic to Southern Western Ghats. Flowering: July-November.

Identification credit: Shrishail Kulloli Photographed in Nilgiri Hills Tamilnadu.

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