Lax-Flowered Balsam
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Lax-Flowered Balsam
A Native Photo: Krishan Lal
Common name: Lax-Flowered Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens laxiflora    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)
Synonyms: Impatiens micranthemum, Impatiens leggei

Lax-Flowered Balsam is an annual non fleshy herb, sparsely branched, up to 1 ft tall, stem hairless, ridged, nodes swollen. Flowers are pinkish purple, flower-stalk 0.7-1 cm long, green-purplish white turning reddish. Bracts at the base of flower-stalk, ovate, whitish green with purple tinge, persistent. Lateral sepals are 2-4, upper pair modified into reddish black corpuscles, lower pair ovate, 1.5 x 3.5 mm, tip pointed, nearly transparent. Lower sepal is boat-shaped, purplish white, 4-5 mm broad, 7-8 mm long and 1.2-1.5 cm deep including the spur, mouth yellow on the throat, shortly beaked, beak glandular; spur 0.8-1.2 cm long (absent in inprominent flowers), straight, gradually tapering into a shortly downcurved single fid, green tip. Dorsal petal is pinkish purple, semi-hoodlike, broadly ovate to nearly round, 6-7 x 5-6 mm, tip round, non-beaked, dorsal side slightly raised. Lateral united petals pink­ish-purple with yellow blotch at the base, bilobed, clawed, unequal, 1.2-1.7 cm long, basal lobe ovate, tip blunt, about 3 mm broad, distal lobe broadly dolabriform, tip pointed, 5-8 cm broad, 1-1.2 cm long, basal ear absent. Stamen are 5, united, enclosing ovary, 3-4 mm long. Inflorescence ae borne in in racemes, erect, in leaf axils, carried on flower-cluster-stalk 2-5 cm long, 5-15 flowered; bud colour purplish white. Leaves are distributed over the whole stem, alternate; leaf-stalk 0.5-1 cm long, green; leaf blade ovate, 2.0-3.5 x 3-9 cm, hairless, bullate, base narrowed, tip tapering, margin sawtoothed, bristly between teeth, veins 4-7 pairs. Capsules are linear, cylindrical to nearly ellipsoid , inclined at an pointed angle, green, slightly ridged, smooth, 1.5-2.2 cm long. Lax-Flowered Balsam is found in the Himalayas, from Himachal to Nepal and Sikkim, at altitudes of 2400-3450 m. Flowering: July-October.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal, Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in Sirmaur Distt, Himachal Pradesh & Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand.

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