Ministry of Environment included Neelakurinji in the list of protected plants.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) has listed Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) in the list of protected plants under Schedule III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
According to the Environment Ministry, those who uproot or destroy the plant will be fined Rs 25,000 and imprisoned for three years. Cultivation and possession of this plant is not allowed.
About Neelakurunji :
Neelakurinji is a tropical plant species and is native to the shola forests in the Western Ghats. It is also found in Shevaroy Hills in the Eastern Ghats, Annamalai Hills in Kerala and Sanduru Hills in Karnataka.
It grows on mountain slopes at an altitude of 1300 to 2400 meters to a height of 30 to 60 cm.
The flowers of Neelakurinji are violet-blue in color and bloom once in 12 years. The flower has no scent or any medicinal value.
Due to its blue color, the mountains of this region have also been named as Nilgiris. The blooming cycle was last observed in 2018 at Koviloor, Kadavari, Rajamala and Eravikulam national parks in Munnar. It will be seen next time in 2030.
It is one of the rarest plant species that grows in the Western Ghats and does not grow in any other part of the world.