- Neelakurinji — also known as Strobilanthes kunthiana — bloom once every 12 years, and belong to a shrub found in the Shola forests of the Western Ghats in the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- The Kurinji flowers grow at an altitude of 1,300 to 2,400 metres. While the shrub is usually 30 to 60 cm high, it can grow well beyond 180 cm, too, under congenial conditions.
- The plant belongs to the genus Strobilanthes which, it is said, was first scientifically described by Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck in the 19th century. The genus has around 250 species, and 46 of these are found in India alone.
- Most of these flower species have an unusual flowering behaviour, which results from annual blooming to a 16-year blooming cycle.
- Neelakurinji is also found in Shevroys in Eastern Ghats. In ancient Tamil literature, kurinji flowers symbolize love. It was first described by the German botanist Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck.
- Plants which bloom after long periods are known as Pletesials. They are known to exhibit ‘gregarious flowering habit’, masting i.e. a mass seeding phenomena or synchronous production of seeds by plants after long intervals of time. These plants need a long time to prepare themselves for flowering.
- The period between two flowering season is known as Oscillatory period and is controlled by endogenous factors. Strobilanthes kunthiana is 30-60cms tall and is found at altitudes ranging from 1300-2400m above sea level.
Karnataka’s Mandalpatti Hills get covered by Neelakurinji Flowers
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