Neelakurunjis In Kerala To Bloom After 12 Years, Government Readies For Tourism Boost

A picture of the valley during the 1994 flower bloom. (Balan Madhavan via Kerala Tourism site)

The Kerala government is getting ready to attract tourism as the famous Neelakurunji flowers in the state are set to blossom after 12 years, The New Indian Express has reported.

The flower is found mainly at Rajamala in Erivakulam National Park located on the Western Ghats. The blooming of Neelakurunji begins in mid July and ends in October. 'Neela' means blue and 'kurunji' is the local name for a flower.

Plants can be classified as annuals and perennials. Annual plants complete the cycle of blooming, seed production and death in a year. Perennial plants continue the cycle for two or more years. Some perennials bloom once in their lifetimes and die. Such plants are called monocarpic and the time taken by them to produce flowers differs. Neelakurunji is a perennial monocarpic plant which takes 12 years to produce a flower before dying. And then the cycle repeats.

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A microsite to provide information to the tourists was launched by the state's tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran with pictures of the flower when it blossomed in 1982, 1994, and 2006. The photos in the site have been contributed by wildlife photographers, scientist and travel writers.

The site includes a 21-page brochure on Neelakurunji that can be easily circulated on Whatsapp. As per the guidelines on the site, the Neelakurunji area is a strictly no plastic zone and tourists are not allowed to pluck the flowers.

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