The rare flower blooms once in a twelve year in munnar has last bloomed in this year 2006 . Neelakurinji flowers adds more attraction to the splendid natural beauty of Munnar. The flowering season ranges between August and November with a peak period of September and October although some varieties exhibit little variation in their phrenology.
Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana)
The species name Kunthiana has been derived from the River name Kunthi. The plant grows in Shola grasslands and mountain slopes of the Western Ghats and Nilgiris in India. This plant belongs to the genus Strobilanthes which was first scientifically described by Nees in the nintheth century. The genus has around two fifty species, of which at least forty six are found in India. Most of these species show an unusual flowering behaviour, varying from annual to sixteen-year blooming cycles, on the national scale there is often confusion about which plant is flowering. Plants that bloom at long intervals like this is called plietesials.
Cultural associations of kurinji
With the lives of tribals kurinji lore is inter-twined. Both the Todas of Nilgiris and the Muthuvas of Munnar belive the flowering of kurinji as Lucky. However, there are taboos that prevent them from destroying the plant or its withered twigs until the seeds mature ten months after the flowering.
Neelakurinji represented as the flower of Lord Murugan. The Muthuvan lore believes that their god married Valli, a character in veda, by weaving a chain of kurinji flowers around her neck. For tribals, kurinji is the symbol of love and romance. They also calculated their age as multiples of the flowering cycle of kurinji.
The place of kurinji itself was referred to as kurinji. The five physiographic divisions or ecozones of Tamilakam were referred to as palai, kurinji, neital, marutam and mullai. This classification also applied to areas of Kerala.