Kurinji season ends in Kerala, Tamil Nadu

Withering MUNNAR, February 5, 2007: Kurinji season, which began with the first flowers blooming on the Palani hills early in April 2006, ended with last of the flowers withering in January 2007.

The season saw thousands of visitors pouring in to Kodaikanal and Munnar to see the massive flowering of kurinji.

More than 2.5 lakh persons visited the Eravikulam National Park between the August 1 and November 30, the peak flowering period at the Park.

The first flowers had bloomed at the Park in June. Late flowering occurred on the foothills of Anamudi and some pockets in the Park and on southern slopes of the mountains south of Yellappetty in January. .

Ibex and waning kurinjiBetween April and January 31, more than 4.5 lakhs visited the Park. Some others had gone to see the blooms at Kadavari, Kanthalloor and other places.

The kurinji plants remain dry as their seeds mature. They will mature in a few months from now. Then, they will die out, and seeds will break off explosively.

Jungle fowls and other predators will gather to feed on the seeds. However, kurinji will overwhelm them with the sheer number of its seeds.

One of the challenges of the forest protection staff will be to prevent fires on the grasslands while the seeds mature. Though the plant may be fire-resistant in its later years, that can not be said about the budding period.

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