Blue stalkless kurinji flowers bloom in Idukki
Nirmal City (Idukki, August 15, 2016: A variety of kurinji specific to lower elevations (Strobilanthes sissilis) has flowered on the hilltops near Nirmalcity, a rural area about seven km from Kattappana and about 15 km from Idukki this month.

This is the same species reported to have flowered at Calvary Mount in Idukki district of Kerala.

The flowering is somewhat gregarious especially on the hilltops near Nirmalcity. However, plants that have not flowered with the rest of the batch are also seen especially at Calvary Mount.

The hills here, which encircle part of the Idukki reservoir, are around 1000 metres in height. Unlike Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) which occurs above 1200 metres, Strobilanthes sissilis grow only in areas below 1200 metres and is locally known as Mettukurinji.

It is a small perennial shrub, usually half a meter tall. It can grow up to two metres before flowering. The leaves are ovate and rounded at the base. It has sessile leaves (leaves issuing directly from the stem). The flowers are blue with with a pinkish tint.

The flowering cycle has not been determined accurately though some say it needs seven years to grow and flower. However, as all plants are not flowering en masse, flowerings occur every year if the local people could be believed.  The flowering season is between July and November.

A large number of people are now visiting Nirmalcity surroundings to see the kurinji plants in bloom.

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