Handsome East-Himalayan Balsam
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Handsome East-Himalayan Balsam
A Native Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: Handsome East-Himalayan Balsam • Mizo: Ramnuaithang
Botanical name: Impatiens pulchra    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)
Synonyms: Impatiens annulifera, Impatiens mengtszeana, Impatiens monticola

Handsome East-Himalayan Balsam is an annual herb, about 10-30 cm tall. It is quite variable, and thus has been mistakenly redescribed many times with new names. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils, in 1-2 flowered clusters. Flowers are orange to reddish orange, with dark red streaks, flower-stalk slender, about 1.5-3 cm long. Two lateral sepals are flat, small, ovate, tip pointed to tapering, hairless, about 6-10 x 4-7 mm long. Lower sepal (Lip) is large, funnel shaped, about 1-1.5 x 0.8-2 cm across, spurred, spur thread-like, abruptly constricted, variously curved, about 1.2-2.5 cm long. Upper petal is keeled or hoodlike, nearly round-inverted-heart-shaped, pointedly crested, about 1.6 x 1 cm long. Lateral petals (wings) are fused in pairs, about 2-2.8 cm across, basal lobes elliptic oblong, about 1.3-1 cm across, distal lobes narrow elliptic to semi-ovate, about 1.9 x 1.1 cm across. Stamens are 5, anthers bi-locular. Stems are erect, hairless. Leaves are alternate, oblong-elliptic to lanceshaped-elliptic, about 2-15 x 0.6-4 cm across, base wedge-shaped or shortly narrowed, margins rounded toothed-toothed, tip tapering, dark green above and paler beneath, leaf-stalk stout, 1-3 cm long. Capsule is narrow spindle-shaped or linear, swollen in the middle, about 1-1.3 cm long, hairless, does not split open. Handsome East-Himalayan Balsam is native to East Himalaya, SC China, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, at altitudes of 600-2700 m. Flowering: August-October.

Identification credit: Durgesh Verma, Rajib Gogoi Photographed in Leimaram, Manipur.

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