Why in news? The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) has listed Neelakurinji under Schedule III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 including it on the list of protected plants.
- Uproot or destroy of a the plant will invite a fine of Rs 25,000 and three years imprisonment.
- The cultivation of Neelakurinji and its possession is not allowed , according to the order.
- Earlier, Chief Wildlife Warden issues a statement to the effect that destroying Neelakurinji plants and flowers is a punishable offence under the Wildlife Protection Act .
- As per the new order, the department will take action against those who uproot or destroy Neelakurinji in forest areas, protected areas, and national park
- Nature : Shrub that is found in the shola forests of the Western Ghats
- States: Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
- Scientific Name : Strobilanthes kunthiana
- Flower blossoms only once in 12 years, and gave the Nilgiri Mountains range its name
- Paliyan tribal (Tamil Nadu) used it as a reference to calculate their age
- Unusual flowering cycle : Annual to 16-year blooming cycles.
- Masting: Mass seeding phenomenon, only occurs in individuals of the species only reproduce once during their lifetime, then die, as with this case
- Plantations and dwellings occupy much of their habitat.
- Shevroy in the Eastern Ghats, Sanduru hills of Bellary district in Karnataka.
- Kurinjimala Sanctuary protects the kurinji core habitat in Idukki district of Kerala
- The Save Kurinji Campaign Council organizes campaigns and, programs for conservation of the Kurinji plant and its habit.
- Kurinji Andavar temple located in Kodaikanal on Tamil Nadu dedicated to Murugan also preserves Strobilanthes plants.
About Schedules under ,The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
- Schedule I: Covers endangered species with rigorous protection and prohibited to be hunted throughout India, except under threat to human life
- Schedule II: High protection with the prohibition on their trade.
- Schedule III & IV: Species that are not endangered are included .This includes protected species with hunting prohibited but the penalty for any violation is less compared to the first two schedules.
- Schedule V: g. common crows, fruit bats, rats and mice, are legally considered vermin and may be hunted freely
- Schedule VI : The specified endemic plants in are prohibited from cultivation and planting.