Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Environment
Context Neelakurinji flowers have bloomed in Kodagu district of Karnataka after 12 years. This kind of mass flowering is known as gregarious flowering.
About the flower
- It is a shrub that is found in the shola forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- Locally known as Kurinji, the flowers grow at an altitude of 1,300 to 2,400 metres.
- Nilgiri Hills, which literally means the blue mountains, got their name from the purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji that bloom only once in 12 years.
- Kurinjimala Sanctuary of Kerala protects the kurinji in approximately 32 km2 core habitat in Kottakamboor and Vattavada villages in Idukki district.
- Kurinji Andavar temple located in Kodaikanal of Tamil Nadu dedicated to Tamil God Murugan also preserves these plants.
- The Paliyan tribal people living in Tamil Nadu used it as a reference to calculate their age.
- Karnataka has around 45 species of Neelakurinji and each species blooms at intervals of six, nine, 11 or 12 years.
- Besides the Western Ghats, Neelakurinji is also seen in the Shevroy in the Eastern Ghats, Sanduru hills of Bellary district in Karnataka.