Flowers are awe-inspiring creations, coloured and scented by nature. Ultimately, Sri Lanka is a tropical island with its diverse collection of fauna and flora. Without a doubt, we are fortunate to be bestowed with distinct native flowers of Sri Lanka that give our country a unique identity. In essence, it is intriguing how these static creations delude nature with colourful shades, fragrance and nectar as food. After all, there is a rich diversity of native flowers of Sri Lanka, which many yet unaccounted.
Native flowers of Sri Lanka – Blue Water Lily also called Nil Manel in Sinhala
Bluewater lily (Nil Manel) is the state flower of Sri Lanka. Uniquely, it is a beautiful aquatic flowering plant naturally found, in tanks and wetland, slow-moving streams in tropical areas. Notably, the Bluewater lily is offered, at Buddhist temples as an offertory. On the other hand, we find the Apsaravas in Sigiriya frescoes holding these flowers in their hands. Moreover, the Blue Water Lily flower is bloom in the daytime and wither after 3 or 4 days and flowers almost all year round.
Sacred Lotus also called Nelum in Sinhala
Sri Lanka’s Nelum flower, otherwise known as the Sacred Lotus, is a bloom whose loveliness has echoed through the centuries. Significantly, its petals glow in shades of pink and at its centre are the bright yellow stamens. Uniquely, these stamens emit a haunting fragrance. In essence, the Nelum flower is one of the most poignant representations of Buddhist philosophy. As can be seen, though other water plants bloom above the water, it is only the lotus which, due to the strength of its stem, commonly rises several inches above the surface. Notably, Sri Lanka’s most ancient flower painting dating back to the third century found in Pothgalkanda in the Matale district is that of the Nelum flower.
Queen of the night also called Kadupul in Sinhala
The Queen of the night flower (Kadupul), Sri Lanka’s native blossom, is said to be the world’s most expensive flower. Consequently, the reason for this is because the moment it is picked, it quite often dies. For this reason, both tourists and locals flock to Sri Pada, to witness the rare sight of the Kadapul’s bloom. As can be seen, the flower has white sweetly scented circular-shaped flowers with narrow petals. Moreover, the flowers are large, white and fragrant. Notably, the flowers like the morning sun, light or filtered light. In general, Kadupul grows in the treetops and lives on the surface of other plants.
Barberton daisy also called Babandesiya or Gerbera in Sinhala
Barberton daisy (Babandesiya) is a popular, ornamental flowering plant, called Barbendesiya or Gerbera in Sri Lanka. They are grown in domestic gardens around the country. Furthermore, daisies comprise various species and colours. Incidentally, Gerbera is very popular and widely used as a decorative garden plant or as cut flowers. Certainly, Barberton daisy (Babandesiya) is also important commercially. It is the fifth most used cut flower in the world. (after rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, and tulip). Although Gerbera is not a native flower, it is widely popular and grown extensively in Sri Lanka.
Shoe flower or Hibiscus Flower also called Wada Mal or Sapaththu Mal in Sinhala
Shoe flowers are one of Sri Lanka’s most popular, garden flowers that can be seen, drooping over fences virtually anywhere you go in the island. In like manner, Hibiscus is a very hardy, versatile plant that can enhance the beauty of any garden. Notably, shoe flowers can be seen most often, in brilliant red. Further, there are muted versions in orange, yellow, and more rarely in pink or white. Indeed, shoe flowers are edible and can be made into a hot drink like tea or chilled as a mocktail. Additionally, shoe flowers are also called ‘Rose of China’ as it is the National flower of China.
Anthurium also called Anthurium in Sinhala
Anthurium is a commercial flower which has a variety of colours and attractive shapes. In the first place, it is immediately recognized, by its signature – the ‘horn’ – that appears in the middle. Incidentally, Anthuriums cannot be grown in normal soil. The medium is artificial, as they are grown on coir husk, brick and charcoal pieces. Moreover, Anthuriums are grown for various purposes such, as cut flowers and potted plants. Furthermore, there are many types of Anthurium cultivated for cut flowers, and generally, the size of the plant and the flower are comparatively larger. Additionally, Anthuriums can be grown as houseplants, or outdoors in mild climates in shady spots.
Chrysanthemums also called Kapuru Mal in Sinhala
The appeal of Chrysanthemums lies in its durability as a cut flower. Above all, it is a beautiful flower that has a range in variety. Incidentally, Modern cultivated chrysanthemums are showier than their wild relatives. Correspondingly, another speciality of Chrysanthemums is the aroma that is emanating from the flower. Furthermore, apart from Sri Lanka, this flower is popularly grown in many parts of the world.
Wild Lantana also called Baloliya in Sinhala
Lantana is native to America and Africa. The plant was introduced, to Sri Lanka and now naturalized throughout tropical and subtropical areas in Sri Lanka. At the same time, it is commonly found, in forest borders, scrub jungle and woodlands in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, Lantana’s aromatic flower clusters (called umbels) are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets.
Allamanda also called Kaha Mal in Sinhala
Allamanda, also known as Golden Trumpet and Yellow Bell, is a very popular flowering shrub in Sri Lanka suitable for open areas in a garden. By all means, it is easy to grow and maintain and adds colour to any landscape in no time. Uniquely, the flowers resemble trumpets and bells, creating acoustic imagery in the garden.
Pinwheel flower also called Wathusudda
The Pinwheel plant generally grows to a height of 5–6 feet (1.5–1.8 m). Additionally, the large shiny leaves are deep green and about 6 inches (15 cm) in length and 2 inches (5.1 cm) in width. For instance, it is grown as a house plant for its attractive flowers where flowers bloom sporadically, all year.