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About Neelakurinji

Context:

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) has listed Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) under Schedule III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 including it on the list of protected plants.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Neelakurinji
  2. Threats

About Neelakurinji

  • In the shola forests of the Western Ghats in South India, you can find the shrub known as Kurinji or Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthianus).
  • The name Nilgiri Hills, which means “blue mountains” in Sanskrit, derives from the lilac-blue blooms of Neelakurinji, which bloom only once every twelve years.
  • With documented bloomings in 1838, 1850, 1862, 1874, 1886, 1898, 1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018, it is the most rigorously demonstrated.
  • Once every seven years, certain Kurinji flowers blossom before passing away. Then, their seeds germinate, continuing the cycle of life and death.
  • It served as a guide for the tribal Paliyan people of Tamil Nadu when figuring out their ages.

Threats

  • About 1,000 ha of forestland, grantis and eucalyptus plantations and grasslands have been destroyed in the fire.
  • These large-scale wildfires on the grasslands where Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiiana) blossomed widely last year after a period of 12 years could have wiped out all the seeds of the endemic flowers.
  • There are allegations that the areas coming under the proposed Kurinji sanctuary were set on fire with a motive to destroy the germination of Neelakurinji seeds.

-Source: The Hindu


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