Recently, Researchers have identified three new wild balsam species reported from Kerala.
About the three new wild balsam species reported from Kerala
- The species, belonging to the genus Impatiens (family Balsaminaceae), were spotted in the Western Ghats region of southern Kerala and the Idukki district during floristic surveys.
- Plants of this genus are popular as ‘Kashithumba’ in Malayalam.
- A plant with whitish-creamy flowers found in the Kallar forest, Thiruvananthapuram district.
- A discovery from the Sankhili forest in south Kerala, christened Impatiens shailajae.
- Given their tiny populations, all three species can be classified as Critically Endangered (CE), applying the IUCN criteria.
- Found at an altitude of 1200 metres, Impatiens achudanandanii is a straggling, glabrous herb.
- Only three or four populations were found, and that too within a one-km area.
- The species faces threats from wild elephants and landslides. Impatiens danii is a 10-20 cm tall plant with a white flower which sports a yellow blotch on the throat.
- Impatiens shailajae belongs to the section Tuberosae, and was found along steep slippery cliffs in the deep forest.
- The genus Impatiens is represented by more than 210 taxa in India. Over 106 species are endemic to the Western Ghats, of which 80% are endangered.
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