The Flower of Blue Mountains

Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) is a shrub that used to grow abundantly in the shola grasslands of Western Ghats in India.

The Nilgiris, which literally means the blue mountains, got its name from the purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji that blossoms gregariously once in 12 years. Besides the Western Ghats, Neelakurinji is seen in the Shevroys in the Eastern Ghats. It occurs at an altitude of 1300 to 2400 metres.

 

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Apart from Nilgris, Neelakurinji grow in grass lands of Eravikulam, hills between Klavarai in Tamil Nadu and Vattavada, near Munnar in Kerala during the season from August to December.

The plant is usually 30 to 60 cm high on the hills. They can, however, grow well beyond 180 cm under congenial conditions.

Kurinjimala Sanctuary protects the kurinji approximately 32 km² core habitat of the endangered Neelakurinji plant in Kottakamboor and Vattavada villages in Devakulam Taluk, Idukki district of Kerala.

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