Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) is a plant that abundantly grows in the shola grasslands of the Western Ghats. The Nilgiri Hills, which literally means the blue mountains, got their name from the purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji. The plant is special because its flowers blossoms gregariously only once in 12 years. Last they blossomed in 2006 and now we need to wait till 2018 to see them again blooming. The twelve year cycle of Neelakurinji flowering was first recorded in the year 1838. There after many scientist groups had done studies on this rare species. The reason for this 12-year flowering cycle is yet to be scientifically established.
Neelakurinji is an endangered plant, all the efforts are being made to protect its habitats. The process of converting Kurinji habitats into plantations in the past decades was the major threat for this plant. The Kerala Government had decided to set up a Kurinji Sanctuary in the Eravikulam area of Munnar. In 2006, the Postal Department had also released a special stamp on Kurinji this year to promote the efforts to save kurinji.