Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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BALSAMINACEAE
K. Vivekananthan, N.C. Rathakrishnan, M.S. Swaminathan and L.K. Ghara



Herbs, annual or perennial, rarely shrubby, terrestrial or epiphytic; rootstock tuberous or rhizomatous. Stems succulent, swollen at nodes, rarely woody below, upright or procumbent, often rooting at lower nodes, occasionally acaulous. Leaves simple, alternate, or opposite, verticillate or spirally arranged, margins crenate, dentate or serrate, teeth or crenations generally apiculate, lowermost often gland-tipped or filiform, glabrous or pubescent, petiolate or sometimes sessile; petiole occasionally with short capitate or fimbriate glands; stipules absent but often with simple or branched stipule-like structures. Flowers bisexual, zygomorophic, resupinate, often showy and brightly coloured, solitary or binate or fascicled in racemes or umbels; bracts entire, rarely toothed. Sepals 3 or 5, free, often coloured; lateral sepals small, green or coloured; lip (lower sepal) resupinate, larger, always coloured, navicular to bucciniform or saccate,tapering or abruptly constricted into a nectariferous spur; spur short or long, filiform, straight or curved, swollen at tip or pointed, rarely bilobed. Petals 3-5, usually coloured,sometimes white; standard (dorsal petal) resupinate, free, flat or cucullate, often keeled dorsally and rarely spurred on back. Wings (lower 4 petals that are free or connate into lateral pairs at or below middle) entire or 2-3-lobed. Stamens 5, alternating with petals; filaments short and broad, connate or subconnate into a ring and hood surrounding ovary and stigma; anthers 2-locular. Ovary superior, 5-locular with axile placentation; style 1, very short or absent; stigmas 1-5, more or less sessile; ovules 5 to many, anatropous. Fruits succulent; capsules opening elastically into 5 twisted valves; valves opening and coiling elastically with an explosive dehiscence for seed ejection, rarely a berry; seeds warted or smooth, with simple one to many-celled hairs; endosperm absent; testa smooth; embryo straight.

Tropical Asia and Africa,a few species in cooler regions in Europe and N. America, usually growing in moist places, in partial or complete shade, rarely semi-aquatic; 2 genera and about 900 species; 2 genera and ca 203 species in India.

Literature. GREY-WILSON, C. (1979). Balsaminaceae. In: Fl. Iranica 143: 1-12. t. 1-3.; (1985). Balsaminaceae. In: Fl. Ceylon 5: 76 - 120. f. 1-7. & (l99l). Balsaminaceae. In: Fl. Bhutan 2: 82-104. DURDANA YUNUS & P.K.K. NAIR (1988). Pollen morphology of Indian Geraniales 15 & 16: 30. 1988-1989. HOOKER, J. D. & T. THOMSON (1859). Praecursores ad florum Indicum. J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 4: 106-105. HUYNH, K.L.(1968). Morphologie du pollen des Tropaeolacees et des Balsaminacees-I & II. Grana Palynologia 8: 88-184, 277-516; (1969) 9: 34-39. YASIN J. NASIR (1980). Balsaminacees. In: Fl. Pakistan 133: 1-17. WALKER-ARNOTT, G. A. (l836) New species of Indian Balsaminaceae. Companian Bot. Mag. 1: 320-325. t. 18.



KEY TO THE GENERA


1a. Petals all free; anthers longitudinally dehiscent; fruit. pentagonal pseudoberries or capsular berries with a bony pyrene 1. Hydrocera
b. Petals not all free; anthers opening by terminal pore; fruits elastically dehiscent capsules 2. Impatiens


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