- Botanists have discovered 23 new species of Balsams in Eastern Himalayas between 2010 and 2019.
In focus: Impatiens in India
- Impatiens is a group of about 1000 angiosperms (flowering plants) species.
- They are commonly known by different names including balsams, touch me not, jewel weed etc.
- Impatiens is distributed in the tropical, sub-tropical and northern temperate regions of the world.
- It is found mainly in India, China and Africa and some parts of Europe and North America.
Balsams in India
- India is home to about 230 species of balsams with 2 balsam hotspots of the world namely
- Eastern Himalayas
- Western Ghats.
- According to latest study, Easter Himalayas is home to about 83 species of Balsam mainly in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Sikkim.
- In Western Ghats it is mainly concentrated in Shola Forests of Silent Valley National Park, Nilgiris in Kerala.
- Balsam species are highly endemic and restricted to limited areas.
- They are called Impatiens because when pressed the curled up flowers throw up the seeds violently.
- Balsams being angiosperms are known for bright-coloured flowers and thus are important horticulture species.
- Being highly endemic, they are climate-sensitive species.
- Balsams grow in rich moist soil.
- Thus they are confined to wet rocks of evergreen forests, waterfalls, roadside drains, banks of rivers etc.
- They grow best at altitudes of about 550m.
- Due to its climate-sensitivity, balsams cannot withstand high temperatures and long exposure to sunlight.