Have a look at this image. Is this a bird? A parrot or a cockatoo?
A flock of colourful birds adorning the green foliage? Now see this second image.
Doesn’t it resemble a flying cockatoo?
But these are not winged creatures. These are petalled flowers. A rare species found in South East Asia, mainly Thailand. Amazing, isn’t it?
It is a protected species – Impatiens psittacina, commonly known as Parrot flowers or Parrot balsam.
This species was discovered by a British official A.H. Hildebrand, in the Shan state of Burma. In 1901, botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker published the description of the flower in Curtis Botanical Journal Magazine. The species name psittacina is a Latin word, which means ‘Parrot like’.
These plants mainly grow near the Chiang Mai region of North Thailand. These are also found in the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur and parts of Myanmar.
In Thai language it is called as ‘Dork Nok Khaew’ or ‘Flower Bird Parrot’.
The plant grows up to a height of half a meter to one meter and has thick stem with profuse branching. The thick, broad leaves have serrated margin.
This species blossoms around October or November. The flowers are purple and carmine red in colour. The petals on the dorsal side of the flower are hooded and orbicular in shape. The lateral petals are long and conjoined.
It is a rare plant, because it doesn’t grow easily in ordinary conditions. A soil with high pH (limestone soil) is reported to favour its growth. Also, a specific pollinator is required for successful pollination and production of seeds. The Thai government has banned the export of these flowers or the plants/seeds.
Thus, a rare vision indeed!
Images source: Unknown