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Trees Bees Use Strobilanthes kunthianus - Neelakurinji

Shiny Rehel, Keystone Foundation, India

Family

Acanthaceae

Distribution

Strobilathes kunthianus, known as Neelakurinji in local language is endemic to the southern Western Ghats of India.

Description

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.

Flowering period

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.

Habitat

It is commonly found along tropical montane Shola forest and grassland at altitudes of 1,400–2,400 m.

Strobilanthes kunthianus flowers 
Image © Keystone Foundation 

Apicultural value

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.

Neelakurinji honey
Image © Marimithu

Reference

https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/262772

WHICH TREES DO YOUR BEES USE?

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