Three-Horned Balsam
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Three-Horned Balsam
ative Photo: Tabish
Common name: Three-Horned Balsam, Scabby Balsam • Nepali: अरेली Areli, तिउरी झार Tiuri jhar
Botanical name: Impatiens tricornis    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)
Synonyms: Impatiens scabrida auct. non DC., Impatiens cristata auct. non Wall.

Three-Horned Balsam is an annual, erect herb, 30-80 cm tall, velvet-hairy. Leaves are alternate, evenly distributed along the stem, stalked or nearly stalkless in upper part of stem; leaf-stalk 5-25 mm long; blade herbaceous, broadly lanceshaped to ovate or elliptic, 3-11.5 x 1.5-4.3 cm, base narrowed, margin sawtoothed to rounded toothed-sawtoothed, tip tapering or pointed, rough on both surfaces. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils, with 1-3 (or 4) flowers. Flower-cluster-stalks are 8-15 mm long. Flower-stalks are 1-2 cm long with a bract at the middle. Bracts are narrowly ovate to linear, 3-6 mm long, tip pointed. Flowers are pale yellow or yellow with reddish brown dots, 2.5-3 cm long, 3-3.5 cm deep. Lateral sepals are 2, nearly round, about 1 cm long, with an awn at tip. Lower sepal is pale yellow shaded with dull orange, bucciniform, 1.5-1.8 cm long, 2.0-2.5 cm deep (excluding the spur), abruptly constricted into incurved spur. Spur is curved, 1.5-2.3 cm in overall length. Dorsal petal is pale yellow, 1.2-1.5 mm long, 1.4-1.8 mm wide when flattened, hoodlike, dorsally with a keel-like crest; crest 3-5 mm high. Lateral united petals are pale yellow, sometimes with brownish stripes, 2.5-3.0 cm long; upper lobe oblong to ovate, 1.3-1.5 cm long, 7-10 mm wide, tip slightly retuse to flat; lower lobe ovate to elliptic-ovate, 3-15 mm long, 6-8 mm wide, tip blunt. Stamens are 5, anthers without appendage. Fruit is 3-4 cm long. Flowering: May-September.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed around McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh.

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