IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Nilgiris’ flora being taken over by invasive weeds

5th October, 2020 Environment

Context: Iconic flora native to the Nilgiris, including more than 30 species of Strobilanthes, could be under threat of being displaced with the continuing advance of invasive flora such as Cestrum aurantiacum and Lantana camara.

  • The mass blooming of the Strobilanthes kunthiana, known commonly as the neelakurinji, gave the Nilgiris (the blue mountains) its iconic name as the slopes were covered once in 12 years by the mass blooming of the shrubs.
  • Prevalence of invasive species can populate the habitats of the native Strobilanthes plants.
  • Habitat of the Strobilanthes plants in the upper Nilgiris is being eroded by the Cestrum aurantiacum, they are threatened by other invasive species like Lantana camara in the lower slopes.

Habitats wiped out

  • In the 19th century, the Strobilanthes plants were recorded in places in the Nilgiris where they have been completely wiped out.
  • In order to protect the remaining habitats, the areas where the plants are located should be identified and invasive plants should be removed immediately.


  • “There are certain wild Impatiens (balsams) species endemic to the Nilgiris and the Western Ghats that are found only in a few square kilometers in a particular valley, and are critically endangered,”