Itanagar, June 7: An Arunachalee scientist with the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) has discovered a new species of impatiens flower at Zemithang in Tawang district last year.
Krishna Chowlu discovered the new species ‘Dorjeekhanduii’, named after former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, in September 2017. The flower species is from the Balsaminaceae family. Impatiens is a genus of about 850 to 1,000 species of flowering plants.
Some species are annual plants and produce flowers from early summer until the first frost, while perennial species, found in milder climates, can flower all year. Regardless of their lifespan, the largest impatiens grows up to about 2 meters (about 7 feet) tall, but most are less than half as tall. The leaves are entire and shiny; their upper side has a thick, water-repellent cuticula that gives them a greasy feel. Particularly on the underside of the leaves, tiny air bubbles are trapped over and under the leaf surface, giving them a silvery sheen that becomes pronounced when they are held under water. The flowers, up to 2–3 cm, around 1 inch long, in most species are made up by a shoe- or horn-shaped spur for the most part, with at least the upper petals insignificant by comparison; some have a prominent labellum though, allowing pollinators to land.
Balsams grow both in and out of direct sunlight; they prefer moist, rich soils, like roadside ditches, reed beds, fens, river banks and forest edges, and many are well able to colonize disturbed ruderal locations.
Chowlu who called on Chief Minister Pema Khandu at his office here on Wednesday, said the impatiens flower has been dedicated in the name of his father to honour his contribution towards the development of the state.
She also said the name will be there in the scientific community forever and the person whosoever will study Balsaminaceae family in the world will study Impatiens dorjeekhanduii, an official communiqué informed. Apart from Chowlu, Rajib Gogoi, SS Dash and Souravjyoti Borah of BSI also contributed in publication of the species.
Khandu thanked Chowlu and her team of scientists in discovering the new flower species. Daughter of Chow P Chowlu and Nang B Chowlu, Chowlu is the only scientist appointed from Arunachal Pradesh in BSI through UPSC. Hailing from Namsai, she has also discovered 9 other plant species.