Kurniji is the famous flower which makes the Neelgiri
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
has been derived from the River Kunthi which flows through
the rich expanse of the renowned Silent Valley National Park in Kerala.
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.