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Neelakurinji: Symbolic Shrub of Western Ghats



  Apr 18, 2024

Neelakurinji: Symbolic Shrub of Western Ghats



What is Neelakurinji, and what is the significance of its flowering cycle?

Neelakurinji (genus Strobilanthes) is a group of flowering shrubs endemic to India's Western Ghats. It is renowned for its distinctive blue-purple blooms and infrequent flowering cycles that can range from one to 16 years, depending on the species.

What is the cultural and historical significance of Neelakurinji?

Neelakurinji holds cultural significance for indigenous communities in the Western Ghats, who traditionally used its flowering cycle as a calendar. The blooms also feature in ancient Tamil Sangam literature and have religious associations within Hinduism.

Distribution and Habitat

Where does Neelakurinji primarily occur, and what are its habitat preferences?

Neelakurinji is primarily distributed within the Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot in India. The plants favor the unique Shola forest ecosystems, characterized by high-altitude grasslands interspersed with forest patches.

Conservation Concerns

What factors threaten the survival of Neelakurinji?


● Habitat loss and fragmentation due to land conversion for agriculture, plantations, and development pose significant threats to Neelakurinji populations.

● Additionally, the influx of unregulated tourism during blooming periods can exacerbate habitat degradation and pollution.

What conservation initiatives are in place to protect Neelakurinji?

● The establishment of protected areas like the Kurinjimala Sanctuary in Kerala specifically aims to conserve Neelakurinji habitat.


● Public awareness campaigns play a crucial role in promoting responsible ecotourism and minimizing anthropogenic pressures on these sensitive ecosystems.

Additional FAQs

Does Neelakurinji have potential medicinal applications?

Preliminary research suggests that some Strobilanthes species possess potential medicinal properties. However, further scientific studies are required to verify their efficacy and safety.

What scientific explanations exist for Neelakurinji's unique flowering pattern?

While comprehensive scientific explanations are still being explored, factors such as resource accumulation, climatic cues, and evolutionary strategies likely play a role in the long flowering cycles of Neelakurinji.


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