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Balsam species - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore
Balsam species

20+ NEW BALSAMS SPECIES IN EASTERN HIMALAYAS

What’s in news?

Between 2010 and 2019, botanists and taxonomists working on Impatiens, the scientists discovered 23 new species from the eastern Himalayas. 

Key data’s:

  • During the period 2010 and 2019, botanists and taxonomists working on Impatiens, a group of plants commonly known as Balsams or jewel-weeds, discovered 23 new species from the eastern Himalayas.
  • According to the scientists there are at least six Balsam species such as adamowskiana, I. debalgensis, I. albopetala, I. ashihoi, I. idumishmiensis, I. rugosipetala are confined only to one mountain beltin lower Dibang valley in Arunachal Pradesh. And some other species were I. lohitensis, I. pathakiana, I. pseudolaevigata, I. siangensis, I. xanthine.
  • Consisting of both annual and perennial herbs, balsams are succulent plants with high endemism.
  • Because of their bright beautiful flowers, these group of plants are of prized horticultural significance.
  • The details of the new species, including several new records, have been highlighted in the book, recently published by the Botanical Survey of India.
  • The book presents 83 species, one variety, one naturalised species and two cultivated species of Balsams. 
  • Of the 83 species described, 45 are from Arunachal Pradesh, 24 from Sikkim and 16 species common to both states.
  • After the British left India not, much work has been done on Impatiens in from northeast India.
  • Before this publication, the number of Balsam species in the eastern Himalayas was pegged roughly at 50 only.
  • There are about 230 species of Balsams found in India and majority of them are found in the eastern Himalayas and Western Ghats.

Background:

Prior to 2010, specimens of Impatiens that had potential of being identified as new species would be collected but the dried-up specimens looked identical to the species discovered earlier and their effort yielded no results.

Botanical Survey of India (BSI):

  • BSI is the apex research organization under Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEFCC) for carrying out taxonomic and floristic studies on wild plant resources of country.
  • It was established in 1890 with objective to explore plant resources of country and to identify plants species with economic virtues.
  • It has nine regional circles situated at different regions of the country.

Important Links:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/eastern-himalayas-a-treasure-trove-of-balsams-yields-20-new-species/article27951138.ece

https://www.iasipstnpsc.in/nipah-virus-2/

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