Botanists say delay in mass flowering could be due to climate change
The delay in flowering of kani konna or sara kondrai flower in several localities has led to many households searching for at least a bunch — on the eve of Vishu.
The fully bloomed yellow flower is an integral component of the Vishu kani ritual that many Kerala homes wake up to on Kerala New Year's day. According to botanists, climatic change could be the main reason behind not seeing any mass flowering this time of the year.
“April-May is the ideal flowering season of this ornamental flower. But, nowadays, plants are exposed to different kinds of pollution delaying their natural growth. When the plants do not get sufficient sunlight and moisture, particularly those within closed compound walls, there is bound to be such delay. Also, pruning and weeding needs to be done accordingly,” said M.N. Pushpa, curator, Botany Section, Government Museum.
She said the delay in konna flower is not an exception as many other plants faced similar challenges. During good times, the konna trees in Madras Kerala Samaj were a major source for many families, but since the last couple of years it only blooms between May and June, said Kumblegad Unnikrishnan, general secretary of the Samaj.
The two trees in Malayalee Club are also yet to bloom. To help members, the club sourced the flowers from different localities, which got sold out on Wednesday morning itself, said its members.
Flower vendors took advantage of the situation and were selling a bunch of the flower and foliage at Rs.145 at the Mylapore market. At the Aminjikarai market, vendors were selling three strands for Rs.80. “Many customers walked out as they felt it was overpriced for the little flowers and buds,” said a customer who bargained and got it for Rs.50.