In focus: Impatiens in India

In focus: Impatiens in India

Introduction

  • 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.

Distribution

  • 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.

Characteristics

  • 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.

Habitat

  • 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.

 

Section : Environment & Ecology

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