Kurinji Flower

The kurinji is a unique flower as it blooms en masse, once in 12 years. These flowers grow in the hilly slope of the Western Ghats, India.

The Kurinji flower bloomed in Nilgiris, Kodaikanal, Munnar (India) in the year 2018. It will again bloom in the year 2030.

Botanical & common names of kurinji flower

Botanical name: Strobilanthes kunthiana
Colloquial Name: Kurinji, Neelakurinji
Family: Acanthaceae


Kunthiana: This name is derived from the river Kunthipuzha which flows through the Silent Valley National Park in Kerala, India.

Why does kurinji flower bloom once in 12 years?

The kurinji plant is known as plietesials. These plants take years to reach flowering stage, then produce seed and die. The kurinji plants seed germinate after 10 months and the flowers will bloom after 12 years. And the cycle repeats.

Is kurinji gregarious flowering plant?

The kurinji flower is a gregarious flowering plant which means they flower synchronously.

Kurinji plant description

Neelakurinji

Height: The kurinji flower can grow up to 8 ft. It is a tall bushy shrub.

Flower:

  • The color of kurinji flower is bright purple-blue.
  • The kurinji flowers are inflorescence, as they are cluster of flowers.

Season: The flowering season of the kurinji flower is from August to November. The peak period is from late September to October.

Habitat of kurinji plants

Kurinji Flower

The Kurinji flowers are found at an altitude of 1,600 to 2,695 m.

  • In Tamil Nadu, India the kurinji flowers grows in Ooty and Kodaikanal (both places are famous hill stations in India).
  • In Kerala, India the kurinji flower grows in Munnar (popular hill station) and Iduki.

Threats for kurinji plants

Invasive species: In the 19th century foreign species such as eucalyptus, pine and acacia tree were planted near the habitat of kurinji flowers. These trees were used as firewood. These trees need more water and grow fast near its habitat. Hence, it is a threat to these plants.

Development: The people clear the habitat of kurinji flower for development. This has caused a serious threat for these flowers.

However, there are campaigns to save the kurinji flower.

Sanctuary for kurinji plants

The Kurinjimala Sanctuary in Kottakamboor and Vattavada villages in Idukki district of Kerala, India covers an area of 322 km. It is the only sanctuary dedicated to one flower that is the kurinji flower.

Kurinji flower stamp

Neelakurinji Flower Stamp
Kurinji Flower Stamp

On 29th May 2006, the postal department of India released a commemorative stamp for the kurinji flower.

Interesting facts related to kurinji flowers

  1. The Nilgiri is nicknamed Blue Mountain. In regional language, Nilgiri literally means Blue Mountain. It is so called because during the flowering season of kurinji flowers, the mountain is covered with kurinji flowers. To the observer from the distance, the mountain appears to be blue in color.
  2. During the flowering season of kurinji, the population of rock bee increases.
  3. To calculate the age, the Paliyan tribes use the flowering of kurinji flower as their reference.
  4. The writers and poets of Sangam period (2nd to 3rd century AD) have portrayed kurinji flower in literature and poem.
  5. The ancient Tamil Nadu was divided into five geographical zones and each zone was named after flowers. One of the zone name was Kurinji.

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