Ind disable

Thursday, October 09, 2014

NEELAKURINJI-നീലക്കുറിഞ്ഞി.Strobilanthes kunthiana..

The hills of Munnar welcomed Neelakurinji on to its bosom after a period of twelve years.During my recent trip to Kerala I had been to Munnar hills which protects about 30 km² core habitat of the endangered Neela Kurinji plant in Devicolam Taluk of Idukki district of Kerala.Though neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) flowers only once in 12 years, there are many sub-species that bloom annually to even 16 years in a cycle.The kurinji is now in bloom in areas where it flowered in 1990 and in 2002. However, in Rajamala, the flower is not to be seen. It was in 2006 that these hills were awash with the flowers.The kurinji is in flowering mode in Mattupetty, Kundala, Thenmala, and Devikulam Gap.Of the 200 varieties of Strobilanthes found in Asia, the Munnar hills host 45. Though they all look blue from a distance, the varieties of neelakurinji vary and the period of flowering varies accordingly. The topographical and climatic conditions may effect changes in the flowering period of the neelakurinji, a native to the shola forests of the Western Ghats.The neelakurinji has three growth phases — a two-month-long flowering and seeding period and then the decaying phase. Biologists say it is not linked to seasonal changes as in  the case of other flowering plants.

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