Kurunji Festival 2018

Description of Kurinji Flower:

Gregarious flowering of Kurnji or neelakurinji (StrobilanthesKunthiana) is a bright blue bell-shaped flower found on the hill slopes of the western ghats at an altitudebetween 6000 to 7000feet. The Kurinji flower is native of South India, growing in the Kodaikanal Palani ,Anamalai and Nilgris in Tamilnadu.

Kurinji is a shrub that used to grow abundantly in the shola grasslands of the western ghats in South India above 1800 mtrs. The Nilgris hills, which literally means the blue mountains, got their name from the purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji that blossoms gregariously only once in 12 years. Kurinji (strobilanthesKunthiana) and a large number of other plant species synchronise their flowering (reproductive phase) within large local populations at a particular site. Black Kurinji (StrabilanthesLurides) and white Kurinji (StrabilanthesUrceolaris) is another two varieties of Kurinji available in Kodaikanal hills.

Kurinji flowers have started blooming on upper Kodaikanal hill. Plants on roadside and on top of the hill near these village s have blue flowers. A few plants in Bryant park too hae started blooming. Though there were about 50 varieties of Kurinji , the blue variety alone would bloom once in 12 years, environmentalists said. Its clustered blooms can be seen between June’2018 to December’2018. The peak season will be between August’2018 and September’ 2018. It dies after blooming and re seeds and blooms again in twelve years.

The Kurinji plant is a tall bush and can grow upto 10 feet. Kurinji flower normally grows on the hill slopes where there is little or no tree forest. It is a tall, bushy, shrub with branches reddish, hairless, blue, hairy.

Gregarious flowering of Kurinji has been documented for 180 years. The first records of ten consecutive flowerings frok 1826 to 1934 were published in the journal of the Bombay Natural History (Col.38) by Mrs. Morrison. However , references in the Tamil Sangam literature (200 BC – 300 AD) suggest that Kurinji used to flower for hundreds of years. Collection of honey in this season by the honey bee is a medicated one.

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