- Firstly, the truly stunning plant commonly known as the Kurinji has an amazing story to tell those who are willing to listen. Yet sadly, the gorgeous plant also has a quite limited zone of habitation. However, this was not always the case for this incredibly beautiful plant.
- Moreover, this breathtaking species evolved as what science calls a plietesial. This terms simply means that it developed into a long interval bloomer. In fact, the species only blooms once every 12 years. Furthermore, related species have bloom rates of every seven years.
- Although this characteristic is amazing, the genetic trait appears in about 250 species in the genus. But sadly, once the magnificent plant blooms, it has reached the end of its life. This holds true given the fact that it perishes soon after the blooming, as part of its natural lifecycle.
- Presently, the IUCN lists the incredible Kurinji as Endangered, on its Red List of Threatened Species. This could potentially change for the worse, however, in the near future. Unfortunately, only a portion of its quite tiny area enjoys protection. That’s because it forms part of a sanctuary.
- Further, of all known long interval species, the stunning Kurinji has been the most extensively studied. Finally, because of its fascinating lifecycle, the Strobilanthes kunthiana, as it’s known to researchers, has been used by the local inhabitants as a way to mark their ages.
Kurinji Physical Description
Notably, the supremely gorgeous Kurinji bears the classification of a shrub among scientific researchers. However, the truly marvelous plant remains a relatively small example of one, compared to related species. That’s because most specimens of the shrub only reach a height ranging from 12-24 in (30-60 cm) in the wild.
Its beauty comes largely from its stunning blooms. In addition, these magnificent yet delicate flowers usually appear in small clusters. In color, these blooms present a very specific range of colors. This range consists of light to dark shades of purple. These delicate flowers also average about 1 in (2.5 cm) in length.
In addition, the stalks of the magnificent Kurinji evolved a distinctly different trait of their own. They display a reddish color, combined with a surprisingly smooth texture. In contrast, however, 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
Unfortunately, evolution provided the wondrous Kurinji with a quite restricted range of habitation. That statement holds true due to the fact that it apparently evolved solely as native to the country of India, in Asia. No evidence exists to support the possibility of it ever appearing anywhere else.
Furthermore, even within this territory, the range of this breathtaking Angiosperm has now become severely limited. As a result of this reduction, the great majority of known specimens presently appear in the Western Ghats. Nevertheless, a small number of plants also exist in the Eastern Ghats, as well.
And once again, Nature gave the Kurinji yet another highly specific requirement for its flourishing. That’s because it most commonly grows at high altitudes, ranging from 4,265 -7,874 ft (1,300 – 2,400 m). In addition, it also nearly always appears on the sides of gently sloping hills within that range.
Unfortunately, mankind has now taken away the great majority of its potential habitat. The majority of the habitat remaining to it is now covered with numerous residences and plantations. Only the Kurinjimala Sanctuary, which covers a scant 12.3 sq mi (32 sq km) offers the species secure protection.