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Six varieties of neelakurinji identified in Western Ghats

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    21st Oct, 2022

Context:

Recently, a team of Experts has observed six varities of Neelakurinji in Western Ghats which indicated the need to conserve the ecosystem for them and their habitat.

About

  • Neelakurinji are flowers that are believed to bloom every 12 years.
  • They grow at an altitude of 1300 to 2400 metres.
  • Neelakurinji or 'Strobilantheskunthiana' blooms in 40 or so varieties, a majority of them being blue in colour.
  • 'Neela' literally translates to 'blue' and kurinji is the name given to it by the tribals of the area.
  • Last seen in 2018, the time for viewing them begins in August and lasts up to October.
  • In Munnar District, these flowers bloom across the region of Kovilur, Kadavari, Rajamala and Eravikulam National Park.
  • Alongside Strobilantheskunthiana, the types of neelakurinji flowers that have been identified from the hill ranges includes;
    • Strobilanthesanamallaica,
    • Strobilanthesheyneanus,
    • Strobilanthespulnyensis, and 
    • Strobilanthesneoasper

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also referenced the neelakurinji in his Independence Day speech in 2018, a year when the neelakurinji was in bloom.

  • All these neelakurinji species are endemic to the Western Ghats and spread over nearly 200 acres of the Kallippara hills.
  • In fact, the neelakurinji population here can be considered one of the biggest of the species after the protected areas of Munnar.
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