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Morang Balsam
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Morang Balsam
P Native Photo: Saroj Kasaju
Common name: Morang Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens jurpia    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)

Morang Balsam is a shrub, about 1.5-2.5 cm tall, which was first found in Morang district of Nepal. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils, in 2-4 flowered racemes, flower-cluster-stalk reddish, about 5-8 cm long, in the upper parts of the plant, hairless. Flowers are bisexual, zygomorphic, white, yellow or pale orange, wings yellow with red line on ventral side, about 3-5 cm across, flower-stalk slender, velvet-hairy, rising up, about 1.5-2 cm long, bracts linear subulate, red, about 4 mm long, sepals 3, overlapping, 2 lateral ones flat, small, lanceshaped-ovate, reddish, tip apiculate, hairless. The narrow lateral sepals clearly distinguish this species from Impatiens cathcartii which has round lateral sepals. Lower sepal (Lip) is large, petal-like, shallow boat-shaped, about 2-3 cm long, spurred, spur abruptly constricted, curved coil-like, reddish with brown spots, about 1 cm long, petals 5, upper standard petal, keeled, round, about 1.3-1.5 x 1.8-2 cm across, spurred dorsally, spur red, about 5 mm long, lateral ones (wings or alae), fused in pairs, bilobed, basal lobes ovate, margins entire, about 1.3 x 1.5 cm across, distal lobes, elliptic-inverted-lanceshaped, margins entire, dorsal ear present. Stamens are 5, anthers bi-locular. Stems are erect, stout, branched, woody near the base, finely velvet-hairy when young. Leaves alternate, ovate-elliptic to inverted-lanceshaped-oblong, about 5-25 x 2-8 cm across, base wedge-shaped or narrowed, margins rounded toothed-sawtoothed with few thread-like glandular appendages which start from almost the middle of the leaf-stalk, tip tapering to with a tail, lateral veins about 6-12 on either side of the midrib, papery, green above and paler beneath, velvet-hairy both above and beneath, leaf-stalk slender, reddish, up to 7 cm long, winged narrowly with a pair of stalked glands on both sides. Fruit indehiscent, capsule, narrow spindle-shaped or linear, about 1-3 cm long, hairless. Morang Balsam is found in East Himalaya, from Nepal eastwards, at altitudes of 900-1200 m.

Identification credit: Rajib Gogoi Photographed in Soureni, Mirik, West Bengal.

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