Thursday, December 31, 2015

බිං දදකිරිය[Bin dadakiriya](Euphorbia thymifolia)

Native annual creeping herb. A weed of waste places and cultivated grounds. Also rooting between stones on roadside pavements.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

Banana Skipper/Rounded Palm Red-eye (Erionota torus)

Banana Skipper is the most recently discovered butterfly of  Sri LankaRohana Gunawardana first observed two adults on 16th August 2015 at Ambagaspitiya in Gampaha District, while resting on a Musa x paradisiaca (Banana/කෙසෙල්) leaf. Next day he discovered many larva and pupa as well as adult butterflies on the vicinity and occurring of new invasive pest butterfly species in the island was formally published later on by Rohana Gunawardana, Ishara Harshajith Wijewardhane, H.M.B.E. Herath, and Tharaka S Priyadarshana in Wildlanka Vol 3 No 3, The research journal of the Department of Wildlife conservation, Sri Lanka.*
    Globally Banana Skipper is distributed in Southeast AsiaTaiwan, Japan and northern India and it is believed that it has been entered Sri Lanka with imported plant materials. In Sri Lanka it is observed that larva of Banana Skipper feeds on mature banana leaves. Also it rolls the banana leaf flap clockwise to form a shelter to rest inside, coursing serious damages to the banana trees. Banana being a commercially cultivated , wide spread crop plant throughout the island, above authors have highlighted the necessity of taking immediate measures to eradicate it in the early stage. Outside Sri Lanka it is reported that not only Banana but also Cocos nucifera (Coconut/පොල්), Areca catechu (පුවක්/Betel-nut palm), Bambusa oldhamii, Strelitzia reginae and Saccharum officinarum (උක්/Sugar cane) are also host plants of the Banana Skipper. Three of them are widely cultivating important crop plants and it was noted that it would be a great lose for the economy if it gradually spread to them as well.

Current Status:
Banana Skipper is now a widely distributed pest in most areas where banana trees are growing as a commercial cultivation or as a home garden fruit tree. Such as Udawalawe, Sinharaja, Gilimale,  Kandy, Kotte, etc (Personnel observation). However it has been observed that Yellow-billed babblers are feeding on larva, tearing its 'nest' where it hide during the day time (Rajika Gamage & Sujeeva Gunasena Personnel communication)

* Meanwhile quite independently  Tharindu Ranasinghe and Himesh Dilruwan Jayasinghe also observed it in the same area and their findings were published as a newspaper article on 27th September 2015 - Enter the Banana Skipper butterfly; bad news for banana farmers

References:
Gunawardana B.R., Wijewardana G.V.I.H, Herath H.M.B.E & Priyadarshana T.M.T.S. 2015, Erionota torus Evans, 1941: A New Record for Sri lanka with notes on its biology (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) WILDLANKA Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 178 - 183.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

අඹ[Amba]/Mango (Mangifera indica)

An introduced tree widely cultivated in the home gardens of wet zone up to about  600 m a.s.l. Native to India and Myanmar. Fruits edible.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Friday, December 25, 2015

වෙළන් [Welang]/Fishing rod tree (Pterospermum suberifolium)

Common indigenous tree grows in monsoon, evergreen mixed and secondary forests, abandoned chena lands, scrub lands, beaches and rocky slopes in the dry and intermediate zones from sea level to about 650 m a.s.l. Wood used in light construction and leaves medicinal. Formerly Veddhas used wood as fire sticks and to make arrows. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Shiny bush/Pepper elder/Pansit (Peperomia pellucida)

Native annual herb of tropical America. Introduced probably around 1884 since it was not recorded from Sri Lanka before 1884(Flora of Ceylon Vol 6). Now widely distributed in disturbed places, home gardens, on wet rocks, vertical banks and also as an epiphyte on roadside trees in wet lowlands up to about 500 m a.s.l. Local and rare in the dry zone. Flowering probably throughout the year. Whole plant edible and can be used in salads.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Calopo (Calopogonium mucunoides)

Native plant of South America, Central America and West Indies. Introduced into Sri Lanka about 1926 as a cover crop to control soil erosion, green manure and probably also as a fodder for cattle. Naturalized along roadsides, wastelands etc. in the wet zone. Flowering from January to June.

Monday, December 21, 2015

පෙති තෝර[Peti tora]/Pot cassia/Sickle senna (Senna tora [Cassia tora])

Common indigenous herb grows in waste places. Leaves edible and also use in Ayurveda and traditional medicine.  Seeds are sometimes used as a coffee substitute. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

කන්කුන්[Kan-Kun](Ipomoea aquatica)

Native plant of the old world tropics. It was introduced to Sri Lanka during some unknown period of the history probably from the Malaysia. Its Sinhalese name Kan-kun most probably derived from the Malaysian name Kangkung. It is common and naturalized along tank margins, canals, paddy fields margins and in stream beds in the dry zone. Also cultivated in moist sites in both wet and dry zone. Young stem and leaves edible.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

කොළ-හඟල, හීන්-වේවැල්[Kola-Hangala, Heen-Wewel](Calamus pseudotenuis)

An indigenous rattan occurs in wet lowlands to lower montane forests below 1500m. Grows in moist places on well-drained slopes. Flowering from April to June.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Butterfly-pea (Centrosema pubescens)

An introduced twining vine native to tropical America, now naturalized and occurs along roads, waste places etc, probably throughout the island. Flowering from April, September to October and January.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

දිය ගෝවා[Diya gova]/Yellow velvetleaf (Limnocharis flava)

Native plant of tropical America. Introduced to Sri Lanka in 1898. Escaped and naturalized widely in marshy areas, shallow ponds and margins of paddy fields from lowlands to mid country.  Flowering and fruiting throughout the year. Young leaves and inflorescence are eaten as a vegetable. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

සියඹලා[Siyabala]/Tamarind/Indian Date (Tamarindus indica)

Native tree of Africa. Introduced to India at least 3000 years ago. Cultivated in Sri Lankan home gardens and along roadsides in villages. Also naturalized in the dry zone. It is used as a timber tree. Fruits edible and leaves, fruits, seeds and barks are used in Ayurvedic medicine.

Monday, December 14, 2015

කහ තැල් කොළ[Kaha Tel Kola]/Ivy woodrose(Merremia hederacea)

Common native twining or prostrating vine found in open areas, roadsides, grasslands, sandy places, etc in both wet and dry zones. Much common in the dry zone. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Epithema carnosum

An indigenous herb occurs in crevices of damp rocks in the montane forests between Kandy and Dolosbage. Flowering February and from  July to September ( Probably throughout the year)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Wallace's Swift (Borbo cinnara)

Common insect flies in grasslands, roadsides and open areas from drier North and Northwestern lowlands to higher hills (Woodhouse L.G.O., 1950).  Its larva feeds on leaves of varies grass species of the family Poeceae such as Coix lacryma-jobi [කිරිඳි], Panicum maximum[ගිනි තණ/Guinea grass], Setaria barbata and Zea mays [ඉරිඟු/Indian corn/maize] (Jayasinghe H.D. et. al. 2014)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Heliotropium curassavicum

An indigenous prostrate and spreading herb occurs along roadsides, wastelands and borders of the lagoons in dry areas. Common in Northern and Northwestern dry zone.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Shrubby false buttonweed (Spermacoce verticillata)

Native perennial herb of  Tropical America. Introduced and naturalized along roadsides, waste lands,etc. Rather common weed.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

දේවකගේ තැලි කටුස්සා [Devakage Theli Katussaa]/Devaka's Fan-throated Lizard (Sitana devakai)


Fan throated Lizard inhabiting dry coastal areas of  the North, Northwestern and Southeastern part of the country was formerly considered as a single species Sitana ponticeriana which is also recorded from the India. However with the recent taxonomic changes now it is considered that Sri Lanka is home to two distinct endemic species, one occurs in the Southeastern coastal areas (Sitana bahiri) and other in the Northern and Northwestern part of the island (Sitana devakai).

Devaka's Fan-throated Lizard is an endemic lizard confine to the dry coastal areas of the north and north western part of the island. However sometime it is recorded even 10-60 km from the nearest beach. It is active during the day time. Territorial behaviors of Sitana devakai are similar to its Southeastern congener Sitana bahiri.  

References:
Amarasinghe, A.A.T., Ineich I., Karunarathna D.M.S.S., Madhava W., Botejue S. & Campbell P.D., 2015 Two new species of the genus Sitana Cuvier, 1829 (Reptilia: Agamidae) from Sri Lanka, including a taxonomic revision of the Indian Sitana species, Zootaxa 3915(1): 67-98

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Acrostichum aureum

Probably the only fern species found in the mangroves of Sri Lanka*. It occurs usually on landward side of the mangroves and brackish water marshes. Young reddish leaves edible and made into a curry. Dried leaves are also used as thatching of temporary huts.

* Locality unknown single specimen of Acrostichum speciosum is also mentioned in the Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol XV Part B page 367.

Friday, December 4, 2015

කරවිල/බටු කරවිල[Karawila/Batu karawila](Momordica charantia)

An indigenous climbing herb occurs in lowland rain forests, riverine forests and cultivated areas up to 1200 m a.s.l. Fruit use in curries and pickles. Several cultivated varieties are used as vegetables.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Areca triandra

Native palm of Bangladesh, Andaman islands and Malay peninsula. Cultivated as an ornamental in gardens. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

ඉත්තෑ[Itha](Schefflera heterobotrya)

An endemic shrub or tree occurs in up country forests from 610 to 1900 m elevations. Sometimes found near streams. Flowering and fruiting occurs after the monsoon with full fruiting from October.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015