Why does the Neelakurinji bloom only once in 12 years ? Find out below.
A Project Discover India Exclusive.
After 12 long years, the Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthianus) has finally started blooming in various parts of Munnar and across the Shola Forests of the Western Ghats in South India. When the flowering is in full swing, the mountains will turn blue and is truly a sight to behold. The Neelakurinji last bloomed in 2006, during which tourists from all over the World flocked to Munnar to catch a glimpse of this rare spectacle. The current erratic nature of the Monsoons have caused a small delay this season, but none the less, has gradually started flowering. Right now, the highest concentration is in Vattavada. The video and images below are actual content from this season’s bloom.
Currently, the Neelakurinji has bloomed only in small patches in Eravikulam National Park and Vattavada. All signs point to peak activity from August end to Mid September.
So why do they bloom only once in 12 years? Well it's like this. There are flowers that complete their life cycle in 1 year, called Annuals and there are flowers whose life cycle is more than 2 years, called Perennials. Annuals grow from seeds, blossoms, sets seeds and then die. Perennials usually flower every year and sets seeds. Neelakurinji on the other hand, belongs to a special subset of Perennials that only bloom at the end of their life cycle when they are fully matured. After blooming, they produce seeds and die. The seeds then start their long 12 year journey to fully mature and bloom. Then they too set seeds and die. This cycle continues again and again, each time giving way to a new generation of shrubs. Thats why they bloom only once every 12 years.
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