in Tamil, is a shrub that is found in the shola forests of the Western ghats in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Nilgiri Hills, which literally means the blue mountains, got their name from the purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji that blossoms only once in 12 years.
Kurniji is the famous flower which makes the Neelgiri
hills blue. Kurinji is a bright blue bell-shaped flower found on the hill slopes of the Western Ghats at an altiltude between 6000 to 7000 feet. The unique feature of this flower is that it blooms once in 12 years! The species name kunthiana
has been derived from the River Kunthi which flows through the rich expanse of the renowned Silent Valley National Park in Kerala. Kurinji flower normally grows on the hill slopes where there is little or no tree forest. It is a tall, bushy, shrub with branches reddish, hairless. Leaves are up to 6 x 3 cm, elliptic, hairless above, leathery. Flowers are borne in spikes 3-5 cm long, cylindric, 2-5 on flower-cluster-stalks in leaf-axils; involucral bracts 2-3, elliptic, woolly; floral bracts 12 x 4 mm, ovate-tapering, tawny velvet-hairy; bracteoles 7 x 1.5 mm, linear-lanceshaped. Flowers are many; calyx 1 cm long, sepals tapering; flower 2.5 cm long, blue, hairy. Nilgiri means blue mountains and it is suggested that the gregarious flowering of the blue flowered S. kunthiana gave the hills their name. In the picture above, a blue Kurinji covered hill is seen.
Neelakurinji is well known to possess both ornamental and medicinal properties. Kurinji is used for making Rasayana in Ayurveda. Other than Rheumatic disorders it can be used for Vata disorders, leprosy, to control blood sugar, urinal problems, jaundice, excess menses, skin inflammations or allergy, toothache etc. It can be also used for Post natal care