Discovery of Rare Plant Species: Impatiens neo-uncinata

Discovery of Rare Plant Species: Impatiens neo-uncinata

Found during a floristic survey in the Agasthyamala biosphere reserve in Thiruvananthapuram district. Initially identified as Impatiens uncinata, a species of the genus Impatiens.

Detailed Study:

  • Closer examination prompted a detailed scientific study.
  • Identified as a new species of Impatiens (family Balsaminaceae).
  • Named Impatiens neo-uncinata.

Researchers Involved:

  • S. Arya, assistant professor, PG and Research Department of Botany, PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore.
  • V.S. Anil Kumar, Principal, Government College, Kasaragod.

Characteristics of Impatiens neo-uncinata

  • Appearance:
    • Small plant with milky-white flowers and red stripes.
    • Snowy white flowers with comparatively large size.
  • Habitat:
    • Found near streams and wetlands.
    • Grows in open areas of evergreen forests, particularly wetlands.
  • Size and Growth:
    • Up to 20 cm in height.
    • Simple or branched stems.
  • Flowering and Fruiting:
    • Occurs from August to December.

Botanical Importance and Conservation Status

  • Significance:
    • Reported only from a single locality at an elevation ranging from 1,000 to 1,250 m.
    • Distinguished from all other known species of Impatiens.
  • Conservation Status:
    • Recommended to be categorized as ‘Endangered’ using IUCN criteria.
  • Reasons for Endangerment:
    • Remote location and low population.

Comparison with Impatiens uncinata

  • Differences:
    • Size of flowers.
    • Basal and distal lobes.
    • Dorsal petal and pollen.

Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. Where was Impatiens neo-uncinata discovered?
    • a) Western Ghats
    • b) Himalayas
    • c) Amazon Rainforest
    • d) Sahara Desert
    • Answer: a) Western Ghats
  2. What is the distinguishing characteristic of Impatiens neo-uncinata?
    • a) Blue flowers
    • b) Milky-white flowers with red stripes
    • c) Large yellow flowers
    • d) Pink flowers with purple stripes
    • Answer: b) Milky-white flowers with red stripes
  3. What recommendation did the researchers make regarding the conservation status of Impatiens neo-uncinata?
    • a) Least Concern
    • b) Vulnerable
    • c) Near Threatened
    • d) Endangered
    • Answer: d) Endangered
  4. What is the main difference between Impatiens neo-uncinata and Impatiens uncinata?
    • a) Leaf shape
    • b) Flower color
    • c) Size of flowers
    • d) Stem color
    • Answer: c) Size of flowers
  5. In which months does flowering and fruiting of Impatiens neo-uncinata occur?
    • a) January to May
    • b) March to July
    • c) August to December
    • d) June to October
    • Answer: c) August to December