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SinhalaTamil
Flora of the Week
Kingdom : Plantae
Order : Ericales
Family : Ericaceae
Genus :Rhododendron
Species : Rhododendron arboretum Smith
Sub species : Rhododendron arboretum zeylanicum (Booth) Tagg
Common Name (English)
Common Name (Sinhala) "Ma Rathmal"

Source: Dr. H. S. Kathriarachchi

Special features
Flower of the plant is selected as the provincial flower of the Central Province. The tree can be identified by its numerous "posies" of red flowers, shiny dark green leaves and gnarled, dwarfed appearance.
Distribution
This sub species is endemic to the country. The plant can be found in the forests and the high patina grasslands of upper montane zone of the country above 1500m
Description
The plant grows small to moderate-sized tree upto 20 m tall. Trunk is stout, usually twisted, thickened at base. Leaves are thick and very stiff, crowded at the ends of twigs. Leaves 7-14 x 3-8 cm in size and elliptic to ovate in shape. Flowers arrange as a short dense raceme with about 25 flowers. Diameter of a flower is about 4-5cm. Flowers can be seen from February to July.Fruits are woody and oblong which spit into five segments to disperse seeds.
Threats
The species is threatened due to deforestation and fragmentation of forest patches.
Uses
Leaves of the plant are taken as medicine.
References

Dassanayake, M. D. & Fosberg, F. R. (eds.) (1980 - 1991). Revised handbook to the flora of Ceylon, Vol XIII. Amerind Publ., New Delhi.

Miththapala S and Miththapala P.A (1998), What tree is That?. The Ruk Rakaganno, no 3, Kalinga Plase Colombo 5.

Kottegoda.S.R(1994). Flowers of Sri Lanka.The Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 January 2012 10:05