Why is it in News?

Due to forest fires, scientists are skeptical about the blooming of Neelakurinji in the next cycle.

About Neelakurinji:

  • Kurinji or Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthianus) is a shrub that is found in the Shola forests of the Western Ghats in South India.
  • Nilgiri Hills, which literally means the blue mountains, got their name from the purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji that blossoms only once in 12 years.
  • It grows at an altitude of 1300 to 2400 metres.
  • Besides the Western Ghats, Neelakurinji is also seen in the Shevroys in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The Paliyan tribal people living in Tamil Nadu use it as a reference to calculate their age.

The Shola Forest:

  • ‘Sholas’ is the local name for patches of stunted tropical montane forest found in valleys amid rolling grassland in the higher montane regions of South India (Tamil Nadu, Kerala & Karnataka).
  • These patches of shola forests are found mainly in the valleys and are usually separated from one another by undulating montane grassland.

Distribution of Shola Forest in India:

Shola forests are found in the higher elevation hill regions of the Nilgiris, Anaimalai, Munnar, Palani hills, Meghamalai, Agasthyamalai to the south and the Malnad and associated ranges in parts of Wayanad, Coorg, Baba Budhangiri hills and Kudremukh up the north, in the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Shevroy Hills of Eastern Ghats:

  • Shevaroy Hills is named after the local deity Servarayan in Tamil Nadu.
  • Shevaroy Hills is a towering mountain range (1620 m) near the city of Salem, in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the major hill stations in Tamil Nadu and in the Eastern Ghats.

Source: TH