Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | 26 October 2021 | 13(12): 19878–19883

 

ISSN 0974-7907 (Online) | ISSN 0974-7893 (Print) 

https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.7034.13.12.19878-19883

#7034 | Received 29 December 2019 | Final received 07 March 2021 | Finally accepted 11 October 2021

 

 

Notes on the extended distribution of Impatiens megamalayana, a recently described balsam in Western Ghats, India

 

Anoop P. Balan 1  & A.J. Robi 2

 

1,2 Bishop Abraham Memorial College, Thuruthicad, Pathanamthitta, Kerala 689597, India.

1 anooppb01@gmail.com (corresponding author), 2 ajrobin80@gmail.com

 

 

Editor: Anonymity requested.   Date of publication: 26 October 2021 (online & print)

 

Citation: Balan, A.P. & A.J. Robi (2021). Notes on the extended distribution of Impatiens megamalayana, a recently described balsam in Western Ghats, India.  Journal of Threatened Taxa 13(12): 19878–19883. https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.7034.13.12.19878-19883

 

Copyright: © Balan & Robi 2021. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  JoTT allows unrestricted use, reproduction, and distribution of this article in any medium by providing adequate credit to the author(s) and the source of publication.

 

Funding: None.

 

Competing interests: The authors declares no competing interests.

 

Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to the Principal, Bishop Abraham Memorial College, Thuruthicad, Pathanamthitta, Kerala for the facilities and support.

 

 

The balsam family Balsaminaceae includes two genera and more than 1,000 species of fleshy herbs. Hydrocera Blume ex Wight & Arn. is a monotypic genus with a single species H. triflora (L.) Wight & Arn., and is distributed from Sri Lanka, India to Java, southern Borneo, and Sulawesi (Grey-Wilson 1980). Impatiens L., the other genus of the family is highly diversified and is known to have five distinct diversity hotspots, viz., tropical Africa, Madagascar, Southern India, Sri Lanka, the eastern Himalaya, and southeastern Asia (Yuan et al. 2004).  In India, the genus is represented by more than 210 species, mainly distributed in the eastern Himalaya, the northeastern states, and the Western Ghats (Bhaskar 2012). The Western Ghats is one of the major centres of diversification of Impatiens. Nayar et al. (2014) enumerated 106 taxa of Impatiens from the Western Ghats of which 97 are exclusive endemics. More than 30 species have been discovered from various parts of the Western Ghats during the last 10 years (Kumar et al. 2011; Dessai & Janarthanam 2011; Narayanan et al. 2011, 2012a,b, 2013; Hareesh et al. 2015a; Prabhukumar et al. 2015a,b, 2016, 2017; Ramasubbu et al. 2015a,b, 2017, 2020a,b; Chhabra et al. 2016; Bhaskar & Sringeswar 2017; Manudev et al. 2017; Mani & Thomas 2017; Mani et al. 2018, 2020; Arigela et al. 2019; Salish et al. 2019; Subbiah & Vellingiri 2019; Vishnu et al. 2020 & 2021; Arya et al. 2021). Impatiens species are usually seen in open, wet grasslands and rocky hill slopes at higher elevations and are highly sensitive to micro-climatic conditions. Major populations of Impatiens in the Western Ghats are outside protected forest areas and are facing severe threat due to habitat loss and changes in climatic conditions.

Kerala, one of the smallest states in India is rich in its balsam diversity. Sasidharan (2011) enlisted 80 species from Kerala, of which 17 are endemic to the state. Since then, 24 species have been added to the balsam flora of the state including a new distributional record (Anil Kumar et al. 2011; Narayanan et al. 2011, 2012a,b, 2013; Hareesh et al. 2015a,b; Prabhukumar et al. 2015a,b; Ramasubbu 2015b; Prabhukumar et al. 2016, 2017; Manudev et al. 2017; Mani & Thomas 2017; Mani et al. 2018, 2020; Salish et al. 2019; Vishnu et al. 2020 & 2021; Arya et al. 2021). Joe et al. 2017 elevated Impatiens rufescens var. agastyamalayensis to species level, i.e., I. agastyamalayensis (Bhaskar) Joe, Bhaskar & Sabu. Thus, the total number of Impatiens in Kerala state reached 107. While exploring the Urumbikkara hills of Idukki district in central Kerala, the authors came across a small, delicate Impatiens with pale red flowers. Upon critical examination it was identified as I. megamalayana Ramas., a recently described balsam from the Megamalai hills of Tamil Nadu. This is the first report of occurrence of this narrow endemic species outside its type locality. Detailed description, images, distribution map and notes on habitat, ecology and conservation status are provided for easy identification and a better understanding of the species. An updated checklist of the balsams of Kerala state is also furnished for future reference.

 

Taxonomic Treatment

Impatiens megamalayana

Ramas., Phytotaxa 302(2): 193. 2018.

(Image 1)

Annual, succulent, erect, herbs, 25–40 cm tall; stem purplish, cylindrical with 3–5 ridges, often branched, glabrous, nodes slightly swollen, internodes 4–6 cm long. Leaves opposite, decussate; petiole 0.3–0.4 mm long, glabrous, with 1–2 pairs of extra-petiolar glands; lamina linear-ensiform, 2.6–5.0 × 0.5–0.8 cm, acute-shortly acuminate at apex, truncate or slightly cordate at base, sparsely hairy above along the midrib, smooth and sometimes purplish below, margins distinctly serrate, midrib distinct, lateral veins obscure. Inflorescence 1–2 per axil. Flowers about 5 mm across, pale purple or yellow with reddish spot; pedicellate; pedicel 1.5–1.8 cm long, hairy along one side. Sepals: lateral sepals linear, up curved, 2.0–2.5 mm long, acuminate at apex, 1–2 nerved, purplish, densely hairy; lower sepal boat-shaped, 3.5–4.2 × 1.0–1.6 mm, with 4–7 wrinkles, tip curved towards outside, densely hairy, purple, spur absent. Petals pale red with deep reddish- spot: dorsal petal ovate-orbicular, 2–2.2 × 3.5–3.8 mm, dorsally keeled,  keel densely covered with unicellular hairs; lateral petals united, oblong, deeply clawed, 2-lobed, 3.2–3.6 × 2.8–3.0 mm, basal lobe small, distal lobe round at apex, dorsal auricle prominent. Stamens 5, cohering above pistil; filaments free up to ⅔rd their length, connate at apex; anthers pale yellow. Ovary ellipsoidal, 2.0–2.2 mm long, glabrous; style rudimentary; stigma minute. Capsule ovoid, turgid, 11–12 × 4–5 mm, acute, beaked, glabrous 5–9-seeded. Seeds 6–9, round with prominent caruncle, 1.0–1.2 × 0.3–0.4 mm, compressed, glossy-black.

Flowering and fruiting: September to December.

Habitat & Ecology: Impatiens megamalayana is usually found in wet rocky hill slopes and open grasslands at 1,000–1,200 m elevation. The plant usually grows in association with Andrographis neesiana Wight, Drosera indica L., Impatiens stolonifera Robi & Manudev, Impatiens viscosa Bedd., Justicia procumbens L., and Smithia bigemina Dalzell.

Distribution: Endemic to the Western Ghats (Kerala & Tamil Nadu) (Image 2).

Conservation status: Ramasubbu et al. (2017) assigned Critically Endangered status to I. megamalayana on the assumption that the taxon is strictly confined to the Megamalai hills of Tamil Nadu. However, the present report of this species from Urumbikkara hills of Kerala state necessitates a detailed field survey to assign a more appropriate IUCN status.

Notes: Urumbikkara hills and adjacent Vagamon hills are emerging tourist destinations in central Kerala. These popular hill stations are endowed with species rich evergreen forest patches, pseudo-sholas and grasslands, and are the last shelter of several Western Ghats endemic species including rare orchids and balsams. The majority of the forest patches are located outside protected forest areas, in ecologically fragile lands, and are facing severe environmental destruction due to tourism related developmental activities, illegal constructions, and encroachments. The richness of the flora of these hill stations are well evident from the recent botanical discoveries. A number of species have been described or rediscovered from these verdant hills during the last 10–12 years (Sibichen & Nampy 2007; Robi et al. 2013; Janeesha & Nampy 2015; Mathew et al. 2016; Manudev et al. 2017; Balan et al. 2019; Krishna et al. 2019; Balan & Robi 2020; Balan et al. 2020). It is important to plan eco-friendly and responsible tourism projects for Urumbikkara and Vagamon to ensure the conservation of the remaining biodiversity and greenery of these beautifull hills.

Specimens examined: Kerala, Idukki District, Urumbikkara Hills, 29.viii.2020, Anoop P. Balan & A.J. Robi 18200; 24.x.2020, Anoop P. Balan & A.J. Robi 18202 (BAM, MBGH, MH) (Image 3).

An updated checklist of Impatiens in Kerala state and district wise distribution is provided in Table 1. Among the districts Idukki stands first with 72 out of the 107 taxa reported from Kerala of which about 22 species are strictly endemic to the district.

 

 

Table 1. An updated checklist of Impatiens in Kerala state and their district-wise distribution.

 

Name of taxa

Distribution in Kerala

1

Impatiens acaulis Arn.

IDK, KNR, MPM, PKD, WND

2

I. achudanandanii V.S.A.Kumar, M.G.Govind & Sindhu Arya              

TVM (Endemic)

3

I. agastyamalayensis (Bhaskar) A.Joe, V.Bhaskar & M.Sabu

TVM (Endemic)

4

I. aliciae C.E.C. Fisch.

IDK (Endemic)

5

I. anaimudica C.E.C. Fisch.

IDK

6

I. auriculata Wight

KTM, TVM

7

I. balsamina L.

All districts

8

I. brittoi B.Mani & Sinj. Thomas

IDK (Endemic)

9

I. campanulata Wight

IDK

10

I. chandrasekharanii Chandrab.

IDK

11

I. chinensis L.

IDK, KLM, KNR, PAT, PKD, TSR, TVM, WND

12

I. clavicornu Turcz.

IDK

13

I. cochinica Hook. f.

EKM (Endemic)

14

I. coelotropis C.E.C. Fisch.

IDK, PKD (Endemic)

15

I. concinna Hook. f.

IDK (Endemic)

16

I. cordata Wight

IDK, KKD, KLM, TVM, WND

17

I. cuspidata Wight & Arn.

IDK

18

I. danii Sindhu Arya, V.Suresh & V.S.A.Kumar

IDK (Endemic)

19

I. dasysperma Wight

IDK, KKD, KNR, MPM, PKD, WND

20

I. denisonii Bedd.

IDK, PKD, WND, (Endemic)

21

I. disotis Hook.f.

IDK, KSD

22

I. diversifolia Wall. ex Wight & Arn.

ALP, KLM, KNR, TSR, TVM, WND

23

I. elegans Bedd.

IDK

24

I. eravikulamensis Hareesh & Salish

IDK (Endemic)

25

I. flaccida Arn.

IDK, KKD, KLM, KNR, MPM, PAT, PKD, TSR

26

I. floribunda Wight

KLM, KSD, PKD, TVM

27

I. fruticosa Lesch. ex DC.

IDK, KLM

28

I. gardneriana Wight

KKD, KNR, KTM, MPM, PKD, WND

29

I. glabrata K.M.P.Kumar, Hareesh & Bhaskar

PKD (Endemic)

30

I. goughii Wight

IDK, KNR, PAT, PKD, TSR

31

I. grandis B.Heyne

IDK

32

I. grandispora Nampy & M.Vishnu

IDK (Endemic)

33

I. hensloviana Arn.

IDK, KNR, PKD, TSR, TVM

34

I. herbicola Hook. f.

IDK, KNR, KTM, PAT, PKD, WND

35

I. inconspicua Benth. ex Wight & Arn.

IDK, KLM, KNR, PAT, PKD, TVM, WND

36

I. jerdoniae Wight

IDK, KNR, PKD, WND

37

I. johnii E.Barnes

IDK (Endemic)

38

I. johnsiana Ratheesh, Sunil & Anil

WND (Endemic)

39

I. josephia Sinj.Thomas, B.Mani & Britto

IDK (Endemic)

40

I. kulamavuensis Pandur. & V.J. Nair

IDK (Endemic)

41

I. laticornis C.E.C. Fisch.

IDK

42

I. latifolia L.

IDK, TVM

43

I. lawsonii Hook. f.

KNR, WND

44

I. leptura Hook. f.

IDK, KLM

45

I. leschenaultia (DC.) Wall.

MPM, PKD

46

I. levingei Gamble ex Hook. f.

IDK, TVM

47

I. ligulata Bedd.

PKD, TSR

48

I. macrocarpa Hook.f.

IDK (Endemic)

49

I. maculata Wight

IDK, KLM, PKD

50

I. mankulamensis K.M.P.Kumar, R.Jagad. & Nagaraj

IDK (Endemic)

51

I. matthewiana Ramas. & Pandur.

IDK (Endemic)

52

I. megamalayana Ramas.

IDK

53

I. minae Ratheesh, Anil Kumar & Sivad.

WND (Endemic)

54

I. minor (DC.) Bennet

All districts except ALP, EKM, TVM,

55

I. modesta Wight

IDK, PKD, TVM

56

I. mohana Ratheesh, Sujana & Anil Kumar

WND (Endemic)

57

I. munnarensis E.Barnes

IDK (Endemic)

58

I. munronii Wight

PKD

59

I. neo-barnesii C.E.C. Fisch.

PKD

60

I. neo-modesta Hareesh, K.M.P.Kumar & V.B.Sreek.

PKD (Endemic)

61

I. nidholapathra M.Vishnu & Nampy

IDK (Endemic)

62

I. nilgirica C.E.C. Fisch.

IDK

63

I. oppositifolia L.

IDK, PKD, TSR, WND

64

I. orchioides Bedd.

IDK

65

I. pallidiflora Hook.f.

IDK (Endemic)

66

I. pandata E.Barnes

IDK (Endemic)

67

I. panduranganii K.M.P.Kumar, R.Jagad. & G.Prasad

IDK (Endemic)

68

I. parasitica Bedd.

IDK, KNR, PKD, WND

69

I. parvifolia Bedd.

IDK, WND

70

I. pendula B.Heyne ex Wight & Arn.

IDK

71

I. periyarensis B.Mani, Sinj.Thomas & Britto

IDK (Endemic)

72

I. phoenicea Bedd.

IDK

73

I. platyadena C.E.C. Fisch.

IDK (Endemic)

74

I. pseudoacaulis Bhaskar

PKD

75

I. pulcherrima Dalz.

IDK, PKD

76

I. raktakesara Vishnu & Nampy

IDK (Endemic)

77

I. repens Moon ex Wight

All districts

78

I. rufescens Benth. ex Wight & Arn.

TVM

79

I. saulierea B.Mani, Sinj.Thomas & Britto

KKD (Endemic)

80

I. sahyadrica V.B. Sreek., Hareesh, Dantas & Sujanapal

PKD (Endemic)

81

I. sasidharanii K.M.P. Kumar, Omalsree, Hareesh & V.B.Sreek.

PKD (Endemic)

82

I. sasidharanii var. hirsuta K.M.P.Kumar, Omalsree, Hareesh & V.B.Sreek.

PKD (Endemic)

83

I. scabriuscula B.Heyne ex Roxb.

KNR, PKD, WND

84

I. scapiflora B.Heyne ex Roxb.

All districts except ALP, EKM, KLM, KTM

85

I. shailajae Sindhu Arya & V.S.A.Kumar

TVM (Endemic)

86

I. sholayarensis M.Kumar & Sequiera

TSR (Endemic)

87

I. sivarajanii M.Kumar & Sequiera

PKD (Endemic)

88

I. stocksii Hook. f. & Thomson

IDK, KNR, WND

89

I. stolonifera Robi & Manudev

IDK, KTM (Endemic)

90

I. tangachee Bedd.

IDK

91

I. tenella B.Heyne ex Hook.f.

PKD

92

I. theuerkaufiana Ratheesh & Sivad.

WND

93

I. tilo (DC.) Suresh

KKD (Endemic)

94

I. tomentosa B.Heyne ex Wight & Arn.

IDK, PAT, TVM

95

I. travancorica Bedd.

TVM

96

I. trichocarpa Hook. f.

IDK

97

I. umbellata B.Heyne

TVM

98

I. uncinata Wight

IDK, TVM

99

I. veerapazhasii Ratheesh, Sujanapal & Meera

KNR, WND (Endemic)

100

I. verecunda Hook. f.

IDK (Endemic)

101

I. verticillata Wight

IDK, PAT, TSR, TVM

102

I. violacea M.Kumar & Sequiera

IDK (Endemic)

103

I. viridiflora Wight

IDK, PKD

104

I. viscida Wight

TVM

105

I. viscosa Bedd.

IDK, KTM, PAT, PKD, WND

106

I. walleriana Hook.f.

All districts

107

I. wightiana Bedd.

IDK,PKD, TSR (Endemic)

ALP—Alappuzha | EKM—Eranakulam | IDK—Idukki | KKD—Kozhikode | KLM—Kollam | KNR—Kannur | KSD—Kasargod | KTM—Kottayam | MPM—Malappuram | PAT—Pathanamthitta | PKD—Palakkad | TSR—Thrissur | TVM—Thiruvananthapuram | WND—Wayanad.

For images - - click here

 

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