New blooms at Silent Valley

June 06, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:44 am IST - Thrissur:

New species of balsams or ‘jewel weeds’ have been found at the Silent Valley National Park.

V.B. Sreekumar, Sujanapal, Hareesh, and Dandus — researchers of the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) — discovered a new species named Impatiens sahyadrica at the Silent Valley. Balsams or ‘jewel weeds’ (impatiens) belong to the family Balsaminaceae. The plants are mainly distributed in tropical and subtropical regions and in the northern temperate regions.

The colour of the flowers ranges from cool white to lavender rose, brilliant pinks and many luminescent colours. Some even have two colours.

The name ‘impatien’ refers to the readiness with which the plants’ seeds are dispersed. The ripe seedpod bursts upon the slightest pressure, thus scattering the seeds. The Silent Valley National Park has several rare and endemic impatiens, the researchers said. “During our survey, we could observe 19 different species of impatiens,” Dr. Sreekumar said. The findings have been published in Phytotaxa , an international journal published from New Zealand.

In India, the genus is represented by more than 210 species, the researchers say. The Nilgiri phytogeographical region has the second highest concentration of impatiens on the Western Ghats with 30 species, 21 of which are endemics.

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