- The species was discovered from Arunachal Pradesh’s Anjaw district, one of India’s easternmost. About a meter tall with ovate elliptical leaves and light pink flowers, the plant was named after Walong, the locality where it was found. Impatiens walongensis is the latest but not the only new discovery of balsam in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Impatiens arunachalensis, which bears purple flowers and a pink throat, was discovered from the Upper Siang district. Since only 50 plants of the species were found at a particular location, scientists described the conservation status of the plant as critically endangered.
- Another species, Impatiens zironiana, with lanceolate pale yellow floral buds flowering and fruiting in the rainy season from July to September, was discovered from the Lower Subansiri district.
- Two more species of balsam, Impatiens rugosipetala from the State’s Lower Dibang valley, and Impatiens tatoensis from the West Siang district, were also discovered and described earlier this year.
- Known for their starkly differing flower shapes, which are produced along the stem with vivid colours like pink, red, white, purple and yellow, balsams grow in rich moist soil. Across the world, about 1,000 species of these angiosperms or closed seeded plants are known to occur.
- In India, about 210 balsam species were known till these new discoveries from Arunachal Pradesh emerged.
Study on hybrids
- Both botanists emphasise that balsams have immense horticultural importance. Studies on hybrids of the plants have been undertaken in parts of the country to produce flowers that can sustain in different environmental conditions.
- Different hybrids can be created from wild balsam species, so it is important to know the actual number of balsam species in the wild.