- Firstly, the stunning Kurinji has an amazing story to tell. Yet sadly, it has a quite limited habitat area. However, this was not always the case for this incredibly beautiful plant.
- Moreover, this breathtaking species is a plietesial, or long interval bloomer. In fact, it only blooms once every 12 years. Also, related species have bloom rates ranging from 7-12 years.
- Although amazing, this trait appears in about 250 species in the genus. But sadly, once the plant blooms, it has reached the end of its life. It perishes soon after, as part of its lifecycle.
- Presently, the IUCN lists this incredible shrub as Endangered. This may change, for the worse, however. Unfortunately, only a portion of its quite tiny area is protected, as part of a sanctuary.
- Finally, of all known long interval species, it has been the most studied. This occurs because these events have been documented every 12 years since 1838.
Kurinji Physical Description
The gorgeous Kurinji bears the classification of a shrub. But it remains a relatively small example of one. Most specimens only reach a height ranging from 12-24 in (30-60 cm) in the wild.
Its magnificent yet delicate flowers usually appear in small clusters. In color, these blooms present a range of light to dark purple. These also
average about 1 in (2.5 cm) in length.
In addition, the stalks of the plant display a reddish color, with a smooth texture. Further, its leaves have a leathery texture and dark green color. Generally, these measure about 1.18 – 3.36 in (3 x 6 cm).
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Eudicots
- Order: Lamiales
- Family: Acanthaceae
- Genus: Strobilanthes
- Species: S. kunthiana
Kurinji Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Furthermore, its range has now become severely limited. The great majority of specimens live in the Western Ghats. A small number of plants also exist in the Eastern Ghats, as well.
It most commonly grows at high altitudes, ranging from 4,265 -7,874 ft (1,300 – 2,400 m). In addition, it almost always appears on the sides of gently sloping hills within that range.
The majority of the habitat remaining to it is now covered with residences and plantations. Only the Kurinjimala Sanctuary, covering a scant 12.3 sq mi (32 sq km) offers it secure protection.