New Plant Species Discovered in Southern Western Ghats

  • 28 Nov 2023

Recently, researchers have identified a novel plant species, 'Impatiens karuppusamyi,' within the 'Impatiens' genus in the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tirunelveli.

Key Points

  • Monsoon Bloom: The newly discovered plant species, part of the stemless scapigerous group, is visible only for a few weeks during the monsoon season.
  • Endangered by Climate Change: With its restricted distribution, especially in the Agasthyamalai region, there is a high risk of extinction due to climate change, emphasizing the need for ecological balance to preserve this rare plant.
  • Tribute to S Karuppusamy: The species is named 'Impatiens karuppusamyi' in honour of S Karuppusamy, recognizing his contributions to the taxonomy of South Indian angiosperms.
  • Botanical Survey of India's Role: Ravichandran V, a researcher from the Botanical Survey of India in Coimbatore and a co-author of the research paper, highlights the importance of maintaining ecological balance for the plant's conservation.
  • Distinctive Specimens: During a botanical exploration in Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, researchers collected specimens of the lithophytic Impatiens, revealing distinct characteristics not found in known Impatiens species.
  • Genus 'Impatiens': Impatiens is a genus with over 1,000 species of flowering plants, widely distributed in tropical Africa, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, and China.
  • Unique Habitat: The absence of a stem in balsam is endemic to the southern Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, occurring in moist habitats, particularly on wet rocky slopes with roots, leaves, and flowers.