Neelakurinji | File photo: Sreekumar PR
Munnar: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India has listed Neelakurinji under Schedule III of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. That means Neelakurinji is not endangered but is included as a plant under protected species. It has joined the list of 19 plants that are listed under Schedule III.
Individuals uprooting or destroying the plant can be slapped with a fine of Rs 25,000 and 3 years imprisonment. Apart from that cultivation of Neelakurinji and its possession are not allowed.
The plant is present in states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Goa. The blooming of Neelakurinji is a major tourist attraction in Munnar. A single plant only flowers once in 12 years. This novelty and its beauty attract scores to locations in which they are flowering.
The seeds falling from their dry flower to the soil results in their sapling formation. If flowers are plucked, this won’t happen. That’s why flower plucking has not been allowed.