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Kurinji flowers bloom again in Kodaikanal hills

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RARE SIGHT: Kurinji flowers enhance the beauty of Kodaikanal hills.
RARE SIGHT: Kurinji flowers enhance the beauty of Kodaikanal hills.

Staff Reporter

"Peak flowering season will continue till 2006-end"

Areas where the Kurinji grow should be protected, say botanists Valley between the Pambar and Vattakanal identified for sanctuary Areas where the Kurinji grow should be protected, say botanists Valley between the Pambar and Vattakanal identified for sanctuary A proposal sent to the Government is still pending

KODAIKANAL: Kurinji flowers are blooming on the declivity of the Kodaikanal hills, particularly near the Kurinji Andavar temple.

The Kurinji flower is native to South India, growing only in the Anamalai, Nilgiris and Palni hills in Tamil Nadu. It does not grow anywhere else in the world.

50 varieties

Though there are about 50 varieties of Kurinji, the blue coloured variety blooms only once in 12 years, environmentalists say.

Some plants started flowering in October 2005 itself. But 2006 is the peak season. Flowering of each plant commences after completing its cycle.

The peak flowering season will continue till 2006-end and may extend up to 2007, says Palni Hill Conservation Council (PHCC) vice-president Britto. "Moreover, all plants do not flower at one time. With high germination rate, multiplication of this species in this region will also be high."

To protect and preserve the species, areas where the Kurinji grow should be protected and preserved, feel botanists.

A large valley with numerous Kurinji plants, between the Pambar river and Vattakanal below Coakers' walk, was identified for creating a sanctuary in April 2004. The then Collector, P. Senthil Kumar, convened a meeting of naturalists, botanists and members of the PHCC and later inspected the site.

Fire prevention bund

An expert team led by the former PHCC vice-president K.M. Mathew suggested the creation of a fire prevention bund below the valley to protect the plants from forest or man-made fire. Trees such as eucalyptus, casuarina and cherry in the valley should be removed. Any threat to the proposed sanctuary was ruled out as it lay between the high ridge of Coakers' Walk and the Pambar. The team planned to intensify seed collection after the flowering in 2006 and simultaneously plant saplings in the Kodaikanal hills. A proposal sent to the Government is still pending. With the approach of the season, environmentalists and naturalists feel like-minded people, at least now, must take up preliminary work such as seed collection and replanting to increase the plantation area.

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