Sri Lanka, despite its small size, has a flora of great richness and diversity. Over 3350 species of flowering plants and over 300 species of pteridophytes have been described. Another interesting feature is the high degree of endemism; as much as 23 per cent of the species of the flowering plants are endemic. Of this, six per cent are found in the broad dry zone plains of the North and East while the other 94 per cent are found in the Wet evergreen and wet montane forests of the south-west and south-central parts of the Island.
Amongst the flowering plants, Orchids can easily be treated as most sought after group. In Sri Lanka, over 170 species (both terrestrial and epiphytic) of this floral beauty have been identified. From this, about 70 species are endemic to the Island. Orchidaceae is among the five largest families of flowering plants in Sri Lanka.
ARRIVAL / SEEDUWA
A.M. Arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport & proceed to a Hotel near Airport for Rest of the morning at leisure.
P.M. Exploring the Muthurajawela Mangrove Reserve.
Possible florae : Acanthus volubilis, Acanthus ilicifolius, Acrostichum aureum, Acrostichum speciosum-the only mangrove fern, Bruguiera cylindrica, Bruguiera gumnorhiza, Rhizophora apiculata, Rhizophora mucronata, Sonneratia alba, Sonneratia caseolaris, Sonneratia griffithi, Sonneratia ovata, Nypa fruticans-the only mangrove palm in Sri Lanka. In the open shallow water submerged and floating aquatic plants such as Aponogeton, Potonogetom, Salvinia and Nymphaea species can be seen.
Lunch/Dinner & overnight stay in Seeduwa
SEEDUWA / SIGIRIYA
A.M. After breakfast proceed to Sigiriya
P.M. Possible noteworthy florae en-route: Coconut Cocos nucifera, Rubber Hevea brasiliensis, Cocoa Theobroma cacao, Mango Mangifera indica, Areca-nut (Betel-nut) Areca catechu, Guava Psidium guajava, Breadfruit Artocarpus incisus, Jack A. heterophyllus, Lime Citrus aurantifolium, Mahogani Swietenia sp., Teak Tectonia grandis, Coffee Coffea Arabica, Kapok Ceiba pentandra, Fish-tail (Toddy) Palms Caryota urens, Talipot Palm Corypha umbraculifera, Red Cotton Bomlax malabaricum, Breadfruit Artocarpus incisus, Jak-Fruit A. heterophyllus Possible florae in the Sanctuary: Calatropis gigantea (Sodom’s Apple), Capparis zeylanica, Cassia fistula, Crataeva adansonii, Ochnalanceolata, Martynia diandra (Tigers’ Claws), Drypetes spp., Manilkara hexandra, Diospyros ebanum
Lunch, dinner & overnight stay at Hotel in Sigiriya
SIGIRIYA / KANDY
A.M. After breakfast proceed to Kandy visiting a “Spice Garden”.
Here we will see many tropical spices like Ginger Zingiber officinale, Turmeric Curcuma longa, Pepper Piper nigrum, Chilli Capsicum annuum, Vanilla Vanilla fragrans, Cardamom Elettaria cardamomum, Nutmeg Myristica fragrans, Curry Leaf Murraya koenigii, Betel Leaf Piper betle, and fruit trees such as Papaya, Fish-tail or Toddy Palm, Avocado, Mango, Mangosteen, Bread-fruit, Jak-fruit, Durian etc.
P.M. Visit Peradeniya Botanical Garden.
It is difficult to single out botanical highlights in a place so richly endowed but the Gymnosperm collection, spice collection, medicinal plant collection, National Herbarium and arboretum are all worthy of inspection and the long avenue of Coco-de-mer palms is a spectacular sight away from the Seychelles. A few other interesting species are Saraca asoka, Cannon Ball Tree Couroupita guianensis, Diospyros atrata-the rarest of the Ebony family, Java Fig or Weeping Fig Ficus benjamina.
Lunch, dinner & overnight stay in Kandy
After breakfast, full day excursion to Knuckles Range with picnic lunch.
Possible noteworthy florae : Calophyllum spp., Garcinia ecinocarpa (Clusiaceae), Syzygium umbrosum (Myrtaceae), and Lauraceae like Litsea spp. and Neolitsea spp.
Dinner & overnight stay in Kandy
A.M. After breakfast Explore Kandy.
P.M. Revisit Peradeniya Botanical Garden.
Lunch, dinner & overnight stay in Kandy
KANDY / NUWARA ELIYA
A.M. After breakfast drive to Nuwara Eliya via Hanguranketha, looking at all the vegetable plots along the road.
Possible noteworthy species : Snake Gourd Trichosanthes anguina, Bottle Gourd Lagenaria siceraria, Bitter Gourd Momordica charanthia, Ridged Gourd Luffa acutangula, Ash Gourd (Ash Pumpkin) Benincasa hispida, Winged Bean Psophocarpus tetragonolobus. P.M.At leisure.
Lunch, dinner and overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya.
After breakfast full day excursion with picnic lunch to Horton Plains National Park, the highest plateau (more than 7000 ft above sea level) of Sri Lanka.
Possible noteworthy florae : Trees – Actinodaphne spp., Neolitsea spp., Litsea spp. (Lauraceae), Syzygium spp. (Myrtaceae), Calophyllum walkeri (Cluseaceae), Rhododendron arboretum (Ericaceae), Gordonia spp. (Theaceae). Shrubs – Lasianthus spp. (Rubiaceae), Strobilanthes spp. (Acanthaceae). Climbers – Piper Montana (Piparaceae), Kendrickia walkeri (Melastomataceae) and Toddalia asiatica (Rutaceae). Carnivorous plants – Dosera spp., Utricularia sp. Orchids – Satyrium nepalense and Ipsea speciosa.
Dinner and overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya.
NUWARA ELIYA / HAPUTALE / RATNAPURA
After breakfast a long drive to Ratnapura via Haputale to visit the Thangamale Sanctuary with picnic lunch. In addition to the Daffodil orchid Ipsea speciosa and Giant Balsam Impatiens grandis;other noteworthy species are: Legocia aurauitica, Bridelia retusa, Phyllanthus embilica (Euphorbiaceae), Grewia damine (Tiliaceae), Pterocarpus marsupium (Fabaceae), Terminalia bellerica, T. chebula (Combretaceae), Helicteres isora (Sterculiaceae), Careya arborea (Lecythidaceae) and Cycas circinalis , the only native gymnosperm in Sri Lanka.
Dinner & overnight stay in Ratnapura.
RATNAPURA / SINHARAJA
After breakfast a full day excursion to Sinaharaja World Heritage Wilderness area, taking a picnic lunch.
This World Heritage Site is the largest remaining lowland Rain Forest harbours over 65% of the endemic trees and woody climbers of the island. Also it has 13 out of the 25 endemic genera endemic to Sri Lanka. Several of these genera are monotypic. Some of the noteworthy species possible: Dendrobium maccarthiae, Anoectochilus setaceus, Dendrobium maccarthiae, Arundina graminifolia (Orchidaceae), Mesua nagassarium, M. ferrea, Garcinia bermonii (Clusiaceae), Shorea trapezifolia, S. affinis, S. worthingtoni, S. congestiflora, Dipterocarpus zeylanicus (Dipterocarpaceae), Myristica dactyloides (Myristicaceae), Schumacheria casteneifolia (Dilleniaceae)
Dinner & overnight stay in Kudawa (the village at the perimeter of Sinharaja).
SINHARAJA / AIRPORT
A.M. After breakfast proceed to a Hotel in Seeduwa.
P.M. At leisure.
Later, after dinner DEPARTURE