Royal Botanic Gardens

Peradeniya Travel Blog

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The Peradeniya Royal Botanic Gardens are situated at Peradeniya, 6 kilometres from Kandy, on a tongue of land bounded on three sides by the banks of the Mahaweli Ganga. This beautiful garden has some 62 hectares in extent and located at an altitude of 550 metres. Peradeniya takes its name from pera (guava) and deniya (plain), which would suggest an early connection with the introduction or the cultivation of fruits, as the guava is not indigenous to the island. The site was originally the royal pleasure gardens of King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1780) of Kandy.

Efforts were made to establish a botanic garden in the island, first by the Dutch at Slave Colombo, and then by the British at Kalutara in 1813, before the final transfer to Peradeniya in 1821.

Java Willow or Java Fig Tree, well that is ONE big tree!!!
Initially, western fruits and vegetables were grown here, then exotic crops such as coffee, tea, nutmeg, rubber and cinchona, all of which later became important to the island’s economy. For the first 20 years, the orientation of the garden remained so strongly focused on the production of fruits and vegetables that scant attention was paid to the cultivation of indigenous plants or to other exotics. However, that changed in 1844 when the Brazilian traveller George Gardner became the superintendent of Peradeniya, the first professional botanist to hold the position. Gardner was the first to do great things for Peradeniya. Land was opened up, roads made, and he travelled the length and breadth of the island collecting plants.

The scope was expanded, however, to include all of Sri Lanka’s flora, and representative species from all over the tropical world.

the same one just from beneath
In fact the gardens main attraction today is the 50-acre (20-hectare) arboretum of some 10,000 trees, including a palm garden illustrating the variety of this particular species. In addition, there is an impressive and graceful avenue of royal palms, planted in 1905. Massive bamboos thrive along the banks of the Mahaweli, including the largest species, the Giant Bamboo of Burma, which can grow as much as 2 feet (60 centimeters) in a single day. Another remarkable feature is the enormous Java fig tree that sprawls across the main lawn, its long branches judiciously propped up in many places. There is also a herb garden, where herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine are grown, and a most important orchid house that reflects the amazing variety of species to be found in Sri Lanka.

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Java Willow or Java Fig Tree, well…
Java Willow or Java Fig Tree, wel…
the same one just from beneath
the same one just from beneath
Peradeniya
photo by: lilanimuna