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Now, Kurinji blossoms on your table

K.S. Sudhi

Photo: By Special Arrangement

GLIMPSE OF A LIFETIME:The Kurinji flower.

KOCHI: Kurinji flowers of various hues are to blossom on your tabletops round the year.

The managers of the Eravikulam National Park have come up with a Kurinji tabletop calendar this year showcasing 12 rare species of the plant variety.

The name Kurinji evokes images of gregarious blossoming of the Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) in Rajamala and adjoining areas. Though much has been written and discussed about Neelakurinji, there are a few lesser known Strobilanthes species in the shola grassland and other forest ecosystems of the State.

It was the flowering period of 12 years of Neelakurinji that prompted a large number of visitors to undertake long and tiresome journeys from faraway places to Eravikulam to catch a glimpse of the flowers in 2006. But there are some other species which take longer periods for flowering. Strobilanthes zenkerianus is one such Kurinji species which takes around 18 years to flower.

While the Neelakurinji is a shrub, the homotropus species is a tree which can grow up to a size of 20 feet. It is also known as mara kurinji in local parlance. The barbatus species is another tree belonging to the Strobilanthes genus.

One of the specialities of the 2006 flowering was that besides Neelakurinji, a few more Kurinji species also bloomed simultaneously, which was a rare occurrence, said A.K. Pradeepkumar, a wildlife photographer, who had extensively photographed the species.

The Forest authorities have used the photographs of Mr. Pradeepkumar for bringing out the calendar. The photos of the table calendar are the results of long hours of trekking through the difficult terrain and forest lands and it took eight months for photographing 16 Kurinji species, said Mr. Pradeepkumar.

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