What is Neelakurinji, the flower PM Modi mentioned in his Independence Day speech?

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What is Neelakurinji, the flower PM Modi mentioned in his Independence Day speech?

The flowering of the "Neelakurinji", which happens once every 12 years in the Western Ghats, is one of India's great natural spectacles.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his Independence Day speech today, he mentioned one of India's great natural spectacles: The flowering of the "Neelakurinji", which happens once every 12 years in the Western Ghats.

The photos you see are bathed in shades of violet and purple, but "neela" means blue (just like "neel" in Hindi).

But why, you may ask, does this profusion of colour conquer the hills of Kerala's Munnar so rarely?

Kerala Tourism explains: The Neelakuriniji belongs to a class of plants that "flower gregariously in a single season".

READ | Munnar's Neelakurinji: A flower that attracts Kerala's land sharks and politicians more than bees

"The term 'plietesials' is used to refer to such plants," it says.

"The time taken to mature varies in different species of Kurinjis. So, different species of Kurinjis have different intervals of flowering. [The] Neelakurinji matures in 12 years time and flowers gregariously every 12 years."

So, how long will the current flowering phase last? Till October.

Get live coverage of Prime Minister Modi's speech here. For a live analysis of his address, click here.

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