Botanical name: Strobilanthes kunthiana Family: Acanthaceae (Barleria family)
Kurniji is the famous flower which makes the Neelgiri hills blue. Kurinji is a bright blue bell-shaped flower found on the hill slopes of the Western Ghats at an altiltude between 6000 to 7000 feet. The unique feature of this flower is that it blooms once in 12 years! The species name kunthiana has been derived from the River Kunthi which flows through the rich expanse of the renowned Silent Valley National Park in Kerala. Kurinji flower normally grows on the hill slopes where there is little or no tree forest. It is a tall, bushy, shrub which sometimes may grow to a height of eight to ten feet. And when it blooms, which is once in 12 years, the entire bush is covered with bright blue flowers. Robinson (1935) recorded a twelve year flowering cycle for this species from the Nilgiri Hills between 1838 and 1934, based on the diaries of one of the earliest European families to settle in the Hills. Nilgiri means blue mountains and it is suggested that the gregarious flowering of the blue flowered S. kunthiana gave the hills their name. In the picture above, a blue Kurinji covered hill is seen.
The flower labeled Kurinji is ...