Trees Bees Use Strobilanthes kunthianus - Neelakurinji
Shiny Rehel, Keystone Foundation, India
Strobilathes kunthianus, known as Neelakurinji in local language is endemic to the southern Western Ghats of India.
Strobilathes kunthianus is a profusely branched shrub with reddish branches. The leaves are elliptic and leathery. Flowers are borne in a spike, tubular and in clusters. It is a monocarpous plant, which flowers only once in its lifetime and then dies. The seeds are dispersed, and new plants arise which in turn bloom after 12 years.
Strobilathes kunthianus flowers during August to October, covering the hills with a bluish-purple carpet in dense massive bloom. The flowers wither soon with the rains.
It is commonly found along tropical montane Shola forest and grassland at altitudes of 1,400–2,400 m.
Strobilathes kunthianus is an excellent bee forage plant during its flowering period. The massed flowering attracts Apis cerana and Apis dorsata foraging for nectar and pollen. The honey is dark amber in colour and viscous.
WHICH TREES DO YOUR BEES USE?
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