Sunday, December 31, 2017

මතබිම්බිය/මැටිඹේබිය[Matabimbiya/Matibembiya] (Maesa indica)

Common native shrub or small tree grows in shady places of moist region, especially in the hills up to about 2000 m elevations. Flowering and fruiting occurs from February to April. Fruits edible.

Flower size - About 0.25 cm across

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Great Orange Tip/Giant Orange Tip (Hebomoia glaucippe)

Largest Pieridae butterfly of the island with very fast flight. It often flies very high. Great Orange Tip occurs all over the country close to forest areas and in scrublands but much common in the dry lowlands up to about 100ft a.s.l. Larva feeds on Capparis mooni(රුදන්ති) in the hills and Capparis roxburghii(කලු ඉල්ලන්ගෙඩි), Crateva adansonii(ලුණුවරණ) and Capparis sepiaria(රිලා කටු) in the dry lowlands. Males settle on damp earth to absorb minerals. It is a migratory species and Ormiston mention about a flight of many thousands in November 1912 (“The largest flight I ever saw was in November, 1912. From south of Maho to Ambanpola, on the Northern line, the train passed for nearly half an hour through a swarm of many thousands” (Ormiston W., 1924))

Thursday, December 28, 2017

කෙකටිය[kekatiya](Aponogeton natans)

An indigenous aquatic herb  occurs in stagnant, shallow most probably temporary waters, paddy fields, ponds and marshlands from sea level to about 800 m elevations. Flowering throughout the year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Bothriochloa pertusa

An indigenous tufted perennial common in pastures and grassy borders at low and medium elevations and lower montane zone. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Cynodon barberi

Rather rare native perennial mainly occurs in the dry lowlands. Loosely mat-forming usually in open damp sites. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Pin-tailed Snipe/උල්පෙඳ කැස්වටුවා[Ulpendha Keswatuwa] (Gallinago stenura)

Common winter migrant to the weedy swamps, wet grasslands and paddy fields throughout the island though much common in the lowlands. While its stay in Sri Lanka Pin-tailed snipe is mainly a nocturnal bird. But in undisturbed areas it would often feed until late hours of the morning and again in the afternoon. It feeds mainly on insects and their larvae as well as earthworms, using its long beak, the tip of which is highly sensitive and also can be open widely while the rest of it remains closed. Pin-tailed snipe breeds in eastern Asia.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

හීන් බිං කොහොඹ[Heen Bin Kohomba] (Andrographis paniculata)

Very rare indigenous herb considered as a Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) in the 2012 Red list. However Jayasinghe H.D. has reported it in a home garden at Hammaliya of the Kurunegala district in 2013-14. Pictures posted with this post were observed at a roadside embankment at Dondra (දෙවිනුවර/දෙවුන්දර) of Matara district in mid of December 2017 with flowers. Several plants were seen in the vicinity. As per Dasanayaka M.D. & Clayton W.D. two varieties of this herb occurs in Sri Lanka. Variety paniculata grows in semi-shade in waste places by roadsides in the moist and dry lowlands and moist mid country, while endemic variety glandulosa is found in sub-montane forests. Flowering from January to April. Whole plant medicinal. 

  • Dasanayaka M.D. & Clayton W.D., 1998, A Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon, Volume XII
  • The National Red List 2012 of Sri Lanka; Conservation Status of the Fauna and Flora. Weerakoon, D.K. & S. Wijesundara Eds.,Ministry of Environment, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 99-113 pp
  • Jayasinghe H.D., 2015 Notes on observations of some threatened flowering plants of Sri Lanka including two “Extinct” species.Himesh Dilruwan Jayasinghe, NeBIO I An international journal of environment and biodiversity Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2015, 1 - 8

Friday, December 22, 2017

Eriochloa procera

Common native perennial widespread in grasslands, marshes, scrubs, forests, as a weed in cultivation such as coconut plantations and along irrigation canals throughout the island except in the upper montane zone. Often occurs on open, damp or seasonally flooded sites. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

සුදු හඳුන් [Sudu Handun]/Sandal Wood (Santalum album)

Native tree or shrub of India. Introduced to Sri Lanka and cultivated for its commercially valuable aromatic Sandalwood. Also escaped and naturalized in some areas. Sandalwood oil, which is widely used in traditional medicine is also extracted from the woods of this tree. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sporobolus coromandelianus

An indigenous erect annual common in open or disturbed sites of the dry and arid lowlands. Also a major component of upper level of 'Damana' grasslands.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Monday, December 18, 2017

Indian Bur Grass (Tragus mongolorum [Syn: Tragus roxburghii])

Common native annual or short-lived perennial  occurs in coastal areas of dry and arid zones. Flowering all the year round.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sand Martin/Pale Martin/ඉවුරු වැහිළිහිණියා/කරපටි ඉවුරුළිහිණියා[Iwuru Waehilihiniya/Karapati Iwurulihiniya] (Riparia riparia)

Rare but regular winter migrant to open areas, often near water of the dry lowlands. Mainly observed in the southern coastal areas. Usually seen on telephone wires/power lines together with Barn SwallowsSand Martin breeds in northern India and North America.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Corkystem passionflower/Indigo berry (Passiflora suberosa)

Very common slender climber native to tropical America. Introduced and naturalized in forests and forest margins of all climatic zones up to 2000 m elevations. Flowering and fruiting from June to December.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Eragrostis viscosa

Common native perennial mainly occurs in coastal lowlands of the dry zone, usually on sandy foreshores and saline flats in association of grasslands. Also known to extend to the wet zone up to 500 m elevations along roadsides, as a weed of tea estates and disturbed grounds.

Panicle - Usually 5-11 cm long &1-2 cm wide
Spikelets - 2-3 mm long &1-1.5 mm wide

Saturday, November 18, 2017

කවලු[Kavalu] (Setaria parviflora)

An indigenous perennial weed common in open grassy areas, roadsides and patana lands from sea level to about 1500 m elevations. It is eaten by cattle. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

පොතු තණ[Potu Thana]/Carpet Grass (Axonopus compressus)

An introduced perennial native to tropical America. Naturalized and occurs in wide range of habitats as a ruderal and weed from sea level to about 1900 m a.s.l., mainly in the wet zone. It is used as a lawn grass.   

Thursday, November 16, 2017

බූ දෙනි තණ[Bu Deni Tana]/Bugseed Grass (Alloteropsis cimicina)

Common native grass species of most parts of the wet and dry lowlands up to about 1200 m a.s.l. of mid-hills  It occurs mainly in damp or shady sites in disturbed places, but also in varies other habitats including dry patana lands.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Guinea grass (Panicum maximum)

An introduced and naturalized perennial often forming large clumps. Probably native to the Africa. It occurs commonly in open grassy areas, river banks, neglected lawns, roadsides, pastures and plantations from sea level to about 1000 m elevations.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

ගුරු තණ[Guru Tana] (Digitaria ciliaris)

An indigenous annual common along roadsides, paddy field borders, ditches and other disturbed sites from lowlands to intermediate elevations. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Brachiaria subquadripara

An indigenous perennial common in fallow fields, grassy roadsides, waste places  and along stream banks from sea level to about 1000 m a.s.l. It is a very good pasture grass. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Eragrostis unioloides

Common native grass species distributed throughout the island from sea level to about 2300 m elevations. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sour Grass (Paspalum conjugatum)

Probably a native grass of tropical America. Introduced to Sri Lanka and now a common weed in plantations, lawns, roadsides and other open grassy areas from sea level to about 1100 m elevations. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Mission Grass/Crab Grass (Pennisetum polystachion)

Native plant of tropical Africa. Introduced to Sri Lanka as an ornamental grass. Escaped and naturalized along roadsides, cultivated lands, fallow fields, etc. from sea level to about 1100 m a.s.l. It has become an invasive weed of forests and plantations. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

ලෙව්[Lev]/Bareet Grass (Leersia hexandra)

An indigenous grass species common in marshes, ponds and paddy fields throughout the island. Serious weed in paddy fields though used as a fodder for cattle.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

බැල තණ/වල්මල් කුරක්කන්[Bela Tana/Walmal Kurakkan]/Goose Grass(Eleusine indica)

Common indigenous annual or short-lived perennial widely distributed in both wet and dry zones up to about 1400 m elevations.  Often a weed of cultivation. Also occurring in tea estates, lawns, gardens, waste areas, roadsides as well as lowland jungles. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

කලඳන/කලමරුවා[Kaladana/Kalamaruwa] Ipomoea nil

An introduced ornamental vine native to the America. Escaped and naturalized along roadsides, disturbed areas and scrublands, mostly in the wet zone. But also found near coast in the northern dry zone.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sacciolepis interrupta

Common native grass species occurs in paddy fields, marshes and shallow lakes from low to medium elevations. It is eaten by cattle. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

බටදැල්ල[Batadhalla] (Isachne globosa)

Common native annual or short-lived perennial grass species grows in marshy habitats, rice fields, stream banks and ditches from sea level to 1800 m a.s.l. Troublesome weed of  paddy fields though use as a fodder for cattle. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

බද මල් තණ[Bada Mal Tana] (Ischaemum muticum)

An indigenous perennial occurs mainly near sea level on beaches, sandy shores and coconut plantations. An endemic variety srilankense is known only from two collections made in a single population from Pallugaturai of Puttalam district.

Friday, November 3, 2017

ගිරා තණ/හීන් මාරතු[Heen Marathu/Gira Thana]/Wild Millet (Echinochloa colona)

Common native tufted annual widely distributed often in or near water as weed of paddy fields and disturbed grounds from sea level to 1300 m a.s.l. in all three climatic zones. The grass including seed is readily eaten by cattle. The grain is used as food in India by poorer classes and in Myanmar in times of scarcity. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

දිය පාසි[Diya Pasi]/Yellow Bladderwort (Utricularia aurea)

An indigenous aquatic herb common in the tanks, ditches, pools and swamps at low altitudes, mainly in the dry regions. Flowering from August to December (Probably throughout the year)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

කෙකටිය [Kekatiya](Aponogeton crispus)

An indigenous aquatic herb with submerged and floating leaves occurs in lakes, ponds and tanks from sea level to about 1300 m a.s.l, mainly in the northern and western part of the country down to Panadura. Flowering throughout the year. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

නාරිලතා [Narilatha] (Habenaria crinifera)

Rather rare indigenous terrestrial herb grows in the shade of trees in dry mixed evergreen forests and mid-country jungles up to 915 m a.s.l.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

බිං කොහොඹ[bin Kohomba](Munronia pinnata)

An indigenous unbranched shrublet on rocks in the wet, intermediate and dry zone forests and scrub lands from sea level to about 1000 m a.s.l. Often cultivated and becoming scarce in the wild due to over exploitation. Whole plant medicinal and used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat fever, dysentery and skin diseases. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

හීන් ඌරු මීයා[Heen Uru Meeya]/Lesser Bandicoot Rat/Mole Rat (Bandicota bengalensis)

Common rat distributed throughout the island, especially in the rice-growing areas. It make burrows in the paddy field embankments and village gardens to live and stores up large quantities of stolen grains. The nearly circular store chambers are located not far from the breeding or living chamber and hollowed out in the middle or to one side of the main tunnel. Usually there are two store chambers and sometime as many as three or four of them are not uncommon. Each burrow appear to be made and inhabited by one adult or by a female and her pups. Lesser Bandicoot is one of the most prolific rat and female produce a family of 10-12 young at each birth and has several families during each year. Females of Lesser Bandicots start producing young at about 5 months old and they live for over 1.5 years. It is a nocturnal animal rarely seen in the day time. It also feed on herbs, grass roots, tubers like sweet potatoes, rubber and other seeds, etc. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

වලු නුග[Walu Nuga]/Weeping Fig/Benjamin Fig(Ficus benjamina)

A large banyan with few or no aerial roots from branches. Distributed in India and South China to the Soloman islands. Introduced to Sri Lanka and planted as a shade tree. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Great Crow/King Crow (Euploea phaenareta corus)

Rather uncommon butterfly flies in well wooded coastal wetlands and mangroves of southwestern part of the country from Negombo to Galle. Further inland it can be also found in Sinharaja forest reserve near Kudawa, Kanneliya forest reserve and Kottawa forest reserve. Great Crow is a shade loving insect spends much of its time resting on leaves or twigs of forest trees while flies only hour or two after sunrise. Its larva feed on leaves of Cerbera odollam (ගොන් කඳුරු) trees. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cyperus difformis

Common native annual widely distributed in wet places of all climatic zones. Often found in paddy fields.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

බටකිරිල්ල[Bata Kirilla] (Erythroxylum moonii)

An indigenous shrub or small tree occurs along streams in wet zone forests up to 1000 m a.s.l. Rather common and flowering and fruiting from August to December. Juice of the leaves is used in traditional medicine to treat diarrhea.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Knoxia sumatrensis

An indigenous herb occurs as two varieties in the island.

  • Knoxia sumatrensis sumatrensis - Grows from lowlands to about 1300 m elevations
  • Knoxia sumatrensis hookeriana (Above picture) - Found in mountainous regions from 500 to 2200 m a.s.l. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Carex indica

Tall native perennial rather rare in wet lowland forests to higher hills. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

මස් මොර [Mas Mora] (Adenanthera aglaosperma)

Rather rare endemic tree found in southwestern wet lowland forests.

*Adenanthera bicolor Moon is a misapplied name which has been erroneously used to refer to Adenanthera aglaosperma Alston. (

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ගස් කොතල[Gas Kotala](Artanema longifolium)

Rather rare native herb found under shade along forest borders, waste lands and paddy field borders from wet lowlands to about 1100 m elevations in lower hills. Flowering from May to November. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

මුරුත[Muruta]/Pride of India/Queen's flower (Lagerstroemia speciosa)

An indigenous tree rare in moist wet lowlands up to 600 m a.s.l. (As per Thwaites and Trimen) or extinct in the wild. But commonly planted not only moist wet lowlands but also in the hill country and in relatively dry areas. According to Lewis (1934) there had been a white-flowered variant of this from Kelani river near Kitulgala. Roots, barks and seeds are used in medicine. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

කොල්ලන් කොළ/ගං කොල්ලන් කොළ/ගස් කොලන් කොළ[ Kollan Kola/Gan Kollan Kola/Gas Kolan Kola] (Pogostemon heyneanus)

An indigenous undershrub common in damp undergrowth of montane forests in the lower and higher uplands from 700 to 2000 m a.s.l. Also cultivated in the lowlands as a medicinal plant. Flowering from January to October.  Leaves and roots used in medicine.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Cleghornia acuminata

An endemic liana rather rare in the hill country forests from 600 to 1500 m elevations.
Flower size - Corolla tube 0.2 - 0.3 cm long and corolla lobe half as long as the tube.