OOTY: The bloom of the ‘kurinji’ flowers, the legendary hill flower, has begun on the Kotagiri slopes. Green activists in Kotagiri plead for setting up a ‘Kurinji’ sanctuary in eastern Kotagiri to conserve the few species of ‘Kurinji’ that still exists there.
Stating that it is really fantastic to see the bloom of ‘Neelakurunji’ in the Kallarpallam area along the eastern slopes of Kotagiri, A.Boopathy of the Kotagiri Wildlife Association, a renowned naturalist in Nilgiris, who photographed the beauty of the bell-shaped purple-blue flower in Kallarpallam, claimed that the one which is in bloom now on the magnificent rocks of the Kotagiri slopes belong to the ‘Strobilanthes kunthianus’ species that blooms once in 12 years.
He said he has seen the blossoming of the 12-year bloom range ‘neelakurunji’ as the kurunji is popularly called, for the fourth time in his life, adding, that as per literary records there were over 200 species of ‘Kurinji’ that were distributed across India. Now, in South India, there are around 46 species of ‘Kurinji’ and the blooming periodicity of different species range from one to 17 years, he noted.
The ‘Kurunji Aandavar’ temple in Kodaikanal reflects the sacredness of this ancient flower. While the Nilgiris is said to have derived its name due to the carpeting of the ‘Kurunji’ during its bloom, in the local Badaga dialect it is known as kattai hu. Kattabettu near Kotagiri is said to have derived its name for the robust growth of ‘Kurunji’ there in olden times, Mr. Boopathy explained....