Kanthal / Kartikaipoo

  • National flower of Tamileelam.
  • State flower of Tamil Nadu.
  • The flower mentioned 64 times in Sangha literature.
  • The flower mentioned in all the eight books of octet.
  • The first flower to be mentioned among the 99 types of flowers mentioned by Kapila in the “Kurinchi padal” (Kurinchi song).
  • Kanthal flower blooms in the month of karthikai (November) and therefore called “Kartikaipoo”.

The flower is also called “Kanvalipoo” because it is so beautiful that it hurts the eyes.

  • “Surumum Musach Sudarp Parkandal {Trimuru.  43}” – Means the flower looks like a flame of fire and it is why the bees do not pluck. The Sangha literature says “On Senkanthal Avihum Nadan {Kuru 284/1-3}” – Means the Kanthal flower bloomed on the rock like arrows sewn on an elephant attacked in battle.


  • In the medieval period, Kambar sang about Kantha flower; “Kanthal Malar Eri Gothuva Gavin Arum” and Appar sang; “Marungu Dhena Punat Kanthal Kai Kattum).


  • Recently poet Ingulab also won the Sahitya Akademi Award (2017) for his collection of poems titled “Kanthal Nadkal”.
  • Such a flower is also a symbolic flower for maveerar.
    “Let’s praise the flower, let’s praise the maveerar”
    – Ilanganathan Kuganathan


  • Tamils have a basic understanding that the tubers of Karthikaipoo are poisonous. More than that, there are many reasons why it was made the national flower of Tamileelam and became the flower of Tamil Nadu.


  1. Senkanthal flower that Tamils call as “Karthikai flower” is mixed with the history and culture of Tamils. Our Tamil literature says that Tamil kings used to wear garlands of Senkanthal flower when they went to war.

“Kandalangkanich Selungudich Selvar”

  • Prathipattu songs explain the custom of wearing the garland of the Senkanthal flower.


  • It has been declared as the national flower of Tamileelam and the flower of Tamil Nadu as it blooms everywhere in the month of Karthikai (November) and brings the colors red and yellow as in the national flag of Tamileelam.




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