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

Kulamavu Balsam is a rare herb, bearing runners, found growing on tree trunks, with stems short, stout, fleshy, less than 1 cm long. It is named after the Kulamavu area in Udukki distt in Kerala, where it is found. Flowers are borne in a 1-3-flowered raceme, carried on a flower-cluster-stalks 2.5-5 cm long. Flower-stalks are 3.5-5 cm long. Flowers are greenish-yellow. Lateral sepals are linear, 8-10 x 2-3 mm, hairy outside, hairless inside. Lip is pouch-like, compressed, 12-15 x 5-7 mm, hairless; spur strongly curved, tip blunt, 7-8 x 3-5 mm. Standard is erect, round to ovate, 6-7 x 8-9 mm, hairy at base. Wings are united close to base, 3-lobed; basal lobes smaller in size, 7-8 x 9-10 mm. Leaves are alternate, ovate-lanceshaped, wedge-shaped at base, tapering at tip, entire to obscurely rounded toothed-sawtoothed along margins, teeth 2-4 mm apart, 2-5.5 x 1.5-2.5 cm, membranous, gland-dotted above, hairless below, lateral nerves 4-6 pairs, indistinct; leaf-stalks gland-dotted, 2-7 cm long, with 2 stipitate glands near-base of blade. Capsules are ellipsoid, 10-12 x 4-5 mm,hairless; seeds pear-shaped, smooth. Kulamavu Balsam is endemic to Meenmutty-Kulamavu, Idukki Dt., Kerala, in W. Ghats. It is found growing on moss-covered tree trunks at an altitude of 600-850 m. Flowering: October-December.

Identification credit: Shrishail Kulloli, A G Pandurangan, Theurkauf W Photographed in Kerala.

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