Botanical Names → Sinhala names   උද්භිද නම් → සිංහල නම්

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ස්ථාන නාම සම් බන්ධ භාෂීය උද්භිදය ගැනය
Ethno-botany, an adjunct to Place-Names studies
වෙසෙස් ලිපි
Place-names Maps
ගම්-නම් මුල් පිට
Place-names Main page
Sinhala Technical Terms
සිංහල තෙක්න වදන්
Health, Exercise, Diet
සෞඛ්‍යය, ව්‍යායාම, ආහාර

pitcher plant

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Sri Lanka is a rare treasure of flora and fauna - the local names of plants etc., are the links of the ecology to the land's socio-culture, and its people. Learn it, enjoy it, and protect it.

  • On herbal preparations

    Some References

    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes, Links
    Abelmoschus angulosus, A.moschatus (Muskdana, Ambrette,Musky-seeded hibiscus, Okra, Ornamental Okra) Kapukinissa latakasturika- varttilai kasturi- The seeds of this Okra like plant are scented, and the oil is used in perfumes.
    It is used in Asian-Indian medicine as being effective against "Pheglm ('sem" in Sri Lanka), and "Air"(Vaatha)., and for aphrodisiac, opthalmic, cardiotonic, digestiveand other applications in herbal medicine, snake-bite therapy etc. Images
    Abelmoschus esculentus (Okra, ladies Fingers, Bhindi) Bandakka pitali vendai, Vendaikkaay Images and write up Claims of traditional (herbal) medicine ETC.
    Abrus melanospermus, Abrus pulchellus Ela Olinda - - A slender perennial twiner, glabrous with long internodes, stems slender, cylindrical, branched with smooth wrinkled brown bark; leaves alternate with stipules.
    "the leaves are by far the sweetest part of the plant, and from them a tolerable extract may be made, but in most parts of India, where true liquorice is obtainable in any quantity as an article of commerce, it would be much more expensive to collect them than to use liquorice. The roots of Taverniera nummularia, and Alysicarpus longifolius, are sweet like liquorice, and are called liquorice in India."(Dymcock, Warden, Hooper) -
    Abrus precatorius Olinda raktika kakachinchi kunri,Adisamiyai Seeds are most poisonous- Images
    Abutilon indicum (indian mallow) Beheth Anoda, Wal Anoda Athibala,- thuththi The plant may grow to two meters, with golden yellow flowers. The powdered parts of the leaf are eaten with honey in alternative medicine. Herbal medicine. For example, its leaves are used for treating skin infections.
    Acacia Arabica (babul tree, Indian gum tree, Gondh)
    Fabaceae plant family
    Baabulu, gam babbula, Vabbula,
    Kimshuka or Palasa or flame of the forest.
    Karuval, Kinthirikkam (Malayalam) A species of Acacia all of which yield a gum resin which is used both medicinally and for various economic purposes. Acacia gum has astringent, styptic, and tonic properties, and of these varieties Acacia gum and Acacia Catechu are much used in medicine. It is added to pharmacy preparations as a filler or base. Images and write up -
    Acacia caesia Hingurupatta vel, Hingurupaththa vael Nikunjika indu, intu, vellintu, inkakkai -
    Acacia catechu (Wattle) See also Dichrostachys cinerea katu andara, Kaippu (?)
    see also Prosopis cinerea, known as "vanni-andara".
    - karunkali, karangalli A large shrub with thornes used as a hedge plant. Flowers in axillary. Seeds in thin pods. -Woody branches are used as toothbrushes. The pod powder is a substitute for soap.The leaf is used as a vegetable. The powdered bark is also a substitute-soap and its decoction is used as a lice killers. see Soloman eraju et al., current science, vol. 91, NO. 7, 10 OCTOBER 2006

    It has been claimed that Scottish scientists have found the closely related shrub Dichrostachys cinerea to be a valuable source of activated charcoal which is much better in quality (finer grain size) than the activated charcoal from oconut and much cheaper as well. Strathclyde University scientists end marabu weed nightmare However, its use as a possible charcoal source seems to have been known in Cuba, And in 2011 charcoal exports reached a value of 6 million USD: Charcoal Making in Cuba
    Acacia chundra, Acasia sundra Kihiri, Rat Kihiriya - karangali A small tree with a dark brown bark and purple young shoots.
    Acacia concinna, Acacia hooperiana, Acacia sinuata (Soap-pod)
    Family: Fabaceae, or mimosaceae (Touch-me-not family) Image and write up
    Seenidda Bahuphenarasa, Bhuriphena,Charmakansa, Charmakasa, Phenila
    Image and write up
    cikkay, Shikakai The tree is food for the larvae of the butterfly Pantoporia hordonia.
    For an effective hair tonic, a decoction of Seenidda (acacia concinna) makes an excellent hair wash. The powdered pods can be used as natural shampoo. Shikakai has a natural low pH and very mild and ideal to wash hair.Lunuwilla can be used as a substitute. Both herbs promote the growth of hair, kill lice and do away with dandruff.-
    Acacia cornigera(Cockspur) kukul-katu andara
    A forbidding , low thorny shrub found in the Ambalanthota dryzone area at one time.
    We are not very certain of this identification of "kukul katu" andara as Acacia cornigera. If you have informatyion, please write to
    - Sometimes called the Bullhorn or Cow Thorn, this plant has a symbiotic relationship with an aggressive and painful species of ant (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea). The ants live in its thorns and protect the tree from encroaching plants, trying to grow near its trunk or leaves high in the canopy. The ants also emerge from the thorns to attack other insects, humans and animals that come in contact with the tree.-
    Acacia farnesiana Seenidda - velvel -
    Acacia ferruginea Ela Kihiriya - See underRath Kihitiya -
    Acacia leucophloea Katu Keena, katu kihiri - velvelam, karuvel, The 'katu' in sinhala may have the meaning of thorn or forest-brush, while keena also means sharp. The word "veal" in tamil means "thorn" and karuveal virtually means "dark thorns"-
    Acacia nilotica (gum arabic tree) Katu kihiri babbula,Varvrurha tiritapicam , kathira maram The gum arabic was introduced to S. Asia by Arabs in medieval times.
    Acacia tomentosa Ali katu - Aani mulla -
    Acalypha indica Kuppamenia, Kuppamenia haritamanjari kuppaimeni An annual herb-leaves simple, alternate, 3.7~cm long, The same name is confusingly used for Nepeta cateria or Catnip in the local languages of Sri lanka. Acalypha is used against asthma, piles, rheumatoid arthritis etc. Image
    Acorus calamus (Sweet Flal, Calamus) Wadakaha, Vad(h)akaha - වදකභ

    Traditionally used against depression, mental disorders and general debility. Acorus calamus is also combined with Polygala root to help maintain mental and intellectual health of the elderly and dementia or memory loss (cognitive disorders. Phytotherapy Research 17, 1–18. Howes, M.R., Houghton, P.J., 2003. Plants used in Chinese and Indian traditional medicine for improvement of memory and cognitive function. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, vol. 75, 513–527).

    Medicinal plant; An aromatic, marshy herb with a stout creeping and branching rootstock-
    In Sanskrit, vaca means "speaking". It is claimed to stimulate expression and intelligence. The Ayurvedic Sarasvata choorna, which contains vaca is commonly used in epilepsy, hysteria etc. Maharishi Charaka , the ancient Indian medical writer, had ascribed exceptional properties to it.
    vacampu, vasambu During the 1955 total solar eclipse visible in Sri Lanka the astrologers even claimed that drinking a concoction of "Vadhakaha" would change dark complexioned skin to fair complexion. Hence the "Baila" song "Bivva ne~da vadakaha sudiya~".
    Image   Down load 2010 election song written to the tune of "vadhakaha sudiya
    Acronychia pedunculata Ankenda Gandha rusa- - Medicinal: Fractures,Ulcers,Purgatives,Scabies- Acrovestine, a cytotoxic principle has been found in the stem and roots.
    Ayurvedic oils.Pyranocoumerins have been isolated. Popular as a Bonsai ornamental plant.
    Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa. Black cohosh, black snakeroot
    Family Name: Ranunculaceae   Imager and write up
    ? - - Used mainly as a herbal source for medications used to relieve hot flashes during menopause ( a concoction of the root is also consumed). It was a component of 19th century `Miss Pinkham's vegetable compound for female complaints etc'. Extracts from the plants are claimed to be analgesic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory. Not native to Sri Lanka. native to USA.
    Adansonia digitata Baobab tree, Bottle tree Aliya Gaha- - - A very large tree with a smooth, pinkish-grey bark; leaves alternate, palmate compound, deciduous.
    The Baobab trees found in Mannar (Mannarama) are a land mark. The tree is endemic to Madagascar and neighbouring Africa. The leaves are eaten as a vegetable. The timber stores water to met the drought.
    Adenanthera aglaosperma Alston Masmora ? - - classification   Reference: Adenanthera aglaosperma Alston [Ann. Roy. Bot. Gard. (Peradeniya) 11:204. 1929] (= Adenanthera bicolor Moon ex Thwaites) -
    Adenanthera pavonina, Adenanthera microsperma Teijsm (Red beadtree) Madatiya, Madhatiya, මදටිය kusandana tilam, manjadi Large Tree. The deep red seeds are similar to "Olinda" seeds. The "madetiya" seed was used in traditional medicine as a weight measure known as manchaadi or madeta, as the seeds are rather regular in size, and do not dry up due to the thick shell. In England Barley seeds were used as a weight, with 480 grains being one ounce. According to H. W. Codrington (Ceylon coins and currency, 1924) a "madeta" or manchaadi was roughly 3.3-3.4 English grains, while a Kalanda was 20 "madeta" or "manchadis".
    The Oil, leaves, bark, seed etc. are used in traditional herbal treatments. This tree is also sometimes known as "Red Sandlewood tree", However, red sandlewood is Pterocarpus santalinus (see write up under the letter P). Image
    Adhatoda vasica, Adhatoda zeylanica, Justicia adhatoda (Malabarnut tree, Pavatta) Vang Aepala, Agaladara, Agalaadaara, Adathoda

    The older sinhala name "Vang Aepala" වං අපල is now rarely used. Agalaadaara is more frequent. The form Aadathoda, derived from Tamil is also frequently used. B. Clough's 19th century dictionary, p 680 cites Vang Aepala as well as Agala Aadara but not Aadathoda. The names "Sinhaasay" and "Sinhamukhi", and "Sinha-parni" have also been used in Sinhala medical texts as the flowers of this plant are compared to the face of a lion.
    vrasa, Vasaka Atatotai, Adatodai, Adadodai (Malayalam- Adalodakam) This is a dense shrub with a yellowish bark; grows to a height of 1.2 to 2.4 meters with many long ascending branches. The elongated lanceolate leaves are dark green and paler beneath.The white (also pinkish) flowers are borne in short dense axillary spikes. The fruits are prune-shaped.

    A quinazoline alkaloid known as l-vascine (i.e., 1,2,3,9-tetrahydropyrrolo[2,1-b]quinazolin-3-ol), and other alkaloids (l-vasicinone., deoxyvasicine, maiontone, some minor alkaloids viz. Vasicol, adhatodinine and vasicinolare) are found in the leaves and other parts of the plant. The phramocologically activity of l-vascine in dilating the bronchial tubes is well known.

    Important medicinal herb, used for relief of chest colds, bronchial asthma etc. An infusion of Adathoda leaves, ginger, and honey, or decoctions of Agalaadaara Katuvael batu (Solanum Jacquini), Elabatu (Solonum Indica), ginger and Tipplili (piper niger) are also used, as home remedies, in Sri Lanka. The product is sold in syrup form in south Asia. Large doses are claimed to abort pregnancies.   See
    Adiantum capillus-veneris, (black maidenhair fern) Vaelvaenna, Walwenna, Walawenna Parna- - Common houseplant in the west. Not native to Sri Lanka. Used as a medicinal herb (for cough) but now ferns are recognized as possibly carcinogenic and toxic. Used externally against snakebite.
    Adina cordifolia Kolon - mancal katampu, kadambai See also Xanthochymus pictorius, Xanthocymus pictorius regarding "Kolon gaha" and false etymologies based on regarding the place-name "Colombo". -
    Aechmea fasciata (bromeliad, urn plant) Mal Annasi (?) - - Bromeliads are a generic name for a whole group of plants. Tillandsia sprengeliana is an example of a well-known bromeliad. A very popular Pineapple-like plant is Aechmea fasciata. Urban ornamentals have become important in Sri Lanka as their leaf bases may collect water, becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The plants are not native, and the name "mal annasi" may be a recent invention by local horticulturalists. There may be other such "in-trade names". The ability of about half the species to live epiphytically -i.e., on top of tree branches, c.f., Orchids - allows them to obtain more sunlight.
    The pineapple is the most common bromeliad. It is unusual as it is terrestrial and produces the only known edible bromeliad fruit of over 3000 species. Medicinal uses claimed for Bromeldiads   Aechmea fasciata , images and write up for a popular Bromeliad
    Aegiceras Corriculatum Heen Kadol - Vithilikanna related to mangroves
    Aegle marmelos (Beli fruit) Images and write up

    A large tree with fruit-shell containing a yellow sweet pulp. Flowers and tender leaves are used to make herbal tea. Fruit helps digestion. Beli is used in the Dashamoola Arishtaya.
    ShreePhal,Adhararuha, Sivadrumah, Tripatre

    In India the Beli tree is deicated to Shiva and considered to be sacred.
    kuvilam, Vilvam The place name "Beligala" is mentioned in the Kadaimpotha acoording to: Journal of the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Soc., Volume 8, Issues 26-29 "The principality of Beligala appears in the Kadaimpoth, or "old boundary books", among the districts of the Maaya division". Beligala was included in the 13 great temples where Bodhi treas were planted by Chulabhaya. When the Tooth relic was brought from Kothmale by Wijayabahu III (13th century), after concealment during the time of the Magha-Kalinga, the relic went to dambadeniya (Jambudroni) and then to Beligala. The famous Bhuvaneka Bahu Pirivena probabaly existed here. The text Rajaratnaakaraya reports useful historical details which complement the sparse discussion in the Plai chronicles.
    Aerva lanata Polpala, pol-kuduplala, pahanabaya, pusswenna - cirupilai, thengapookeerai Medicinal herb, diuretic taken as a tisane. Annual herb, 60-75 cm tall, often woody at base ; stems green, erect or prostrate, with numerous, slender, cylindrical, more or less cottony, hairy branches leaves simple, alternate, 1.2-2.5 cm long, 0.9-2.5 cm broad, oval or spathulate-oval- effects of polpala on the structure and function of urinary tract of rats, by HMDR> Herath et al, Cey. J. med. Sci., 2005.
    Agave vera-cruz (Agave, Century plant)) Pathok-hana- Kantala- Alagai- -
    Ageratum conyzoides(Billygoat-weed, Chick weed, Goatweed, Whiteweed;) Hulantala- - appakkoti Common weed, some times used in herbal medicine. But now it is known to be dangerous to the liver and could be toxic in other ways.
    Ageratina Adenophora (Croton weed) and Ageratina riparia Mist flower
    Asteraceae family,Wiki
    - - Larvicidal activity reported in Tamil Nadu studies. These are weed species that have invaded Sri Lanka, esp. Knuckles etc,. History and distribution of .... Article by Lalith Gunasekera
    Aglaia roxburghiana Puwangu, Puvangu - cokkalai, kannikkompu Place name: Puvangudiva, puvangudoova, mentioned in the Pali chronicles.;
    Morphology: A moderate-sized or large tree (mahogany family) with a smooth, dull grayish orange bark and young parts covered with minute ferruginous scales; leaves compound, alternate, exstipulate, pinnate, rachis ~5 cm long. An anti-inflammatory.
    see also Myristica horsfieldia ,. Many Aglaia species are similar and Aglaia odorata (Chinese Rice Flower) is sometimes said to be "puvangu". The tree known as "Mal-Karanda" (Millettia pinnata) may also have been the ancient "Puvangu" .
    Agrostistachys Indica , Agrostistachys hookeri
    Shrub or tree. The leaves were used for thatching huts. However, the treee has become nearly extinct. It is in the IUCN red list 2006. Agrostistachin, a cytotoxic constituent of this plant has been characterized as a rare diterpinoid of the casbane class. Anti-tumour agents, ellagic acid derivatives etc, are being investigated from the extracts of this plant.


    Three leaf types of the Beru tree are said to be found in Sri Lanka.

    The name Agrostistachys ciricacea " has been listed in an Asia-Pacific database but we don't know what it is - Images and botany write up
    The name is probabaly pronounced with a long "e", බේරැ
    - Mancharei

    Although the village of beruwala has been used by Arab traders, there has been no attempt to generate an Arabic or Tamilized place name here.

    Toponym: There are two possibilities for the origin of the name:
    (1)The name of the small fishing village on the south western coast known as "Beruwala" බේරුවල is likely to mean "the thicket of Beru trees, viz., Beru - vala", where "vala" means "vanaya", (and not pit) in Sinhalese.
    Henry Yule (Scottish historian and Geographer of the 19th century) used the name Perivils for the port of Beruwela. The name "Perivil" may itself have been a europeanization of the sinhala name "Beru-vala", as the change of
    B ↔ P, as well as "vil &harr: vala" are common.

    (2) A folklore etymology claims that the name comes from "Be -ruvala", i.e., "drop the sail", where "Be" is said to represent baanava, and ruvala is sail. If this etymology is to be consistent, the name should be "Baeruvala"- බෑරුවල. Further more, sails are lowered long before the boat reaches land, and no such name is found in any other fishing harbour in Sri Lanka. Hence we strongly discount this etymology.

    History According to Prof. W. I. Suraweera (Sunday Observer, August 2nd, 1998), this fishing village has been one of the earliest Arab-trader settlements in Sri Lanka. Thus, From John de Marignolli's account (14th century) it may be inferred that Beruwala had accepted Moor settlers. He states that the administrator at Perivills was Coya Jhan, apparently the name of a Moor chief. From the Sandesa poems it can be ascertained that Beruwala was a Moor trading centre in the fifteenth century with many mansions and large shops. The Beruwala mosque and the village were destroyed by the Portuguese. Today the area has a population of Muslims, Sinhalese Catholics and Buddhists. Article on Beruwala in the Island Newspaper June 2011
    Beru-kaetiya is another place names associated with Beru. "Kaetiya" is a standard sinhala word meaning "agglomeration" or "golla".
    Alangium lamarkii, Alangium lamarkii, Grewia salvifolia.- Ruk-Anguna1- Ankota. Dhalakura - A small tree, used in indegeneous medicine for skin diseases, dysentry fever etc. The leaves have been shown to reduce inflammation. Image and writeup
    Alangium salviifolium (sage-leaf Alangium, Sage Dogwood) Ruk-Anguna- Amkol alincil,sainkolam tall thorny tree, - In Ayurveda the roots and the fruits are used for rheumatism, and hemorrhoid.Externally used for the treatment of animal bites
    Alastonia scholaris- C.f., Alstonia scholaris (L.).
    Echites scholaris L.
    Devil tree. Milkwood pine
    Images and write up
    Ruk Attana - Sapta-parni Elilaipalai, Mukam palei, Palai, Palegaruda- Place names: Aettampana (Adampan)., Kok-aththana-kulama etc., the name in these cases probably refers to Datura species. Rukattana is a large tree, with a white exudate and whorls of simple narrow oblong leaves. The Sanskrit name may be associated with the presence of whorls of leaves.
    Albizia amara (Oil cake tree)- Iha - Krishnasrirsh Vunja- Images and write up -
    Albizia lebbeck Mara, Maara, Sooriya Mara - bhandi, sirisah -
    Albizia odoratissima Sooriya Mara, Albezia, Girizeeniya sirisa karuvagai Morphology:A very large tree with a thick, grey bark, spreading branches and pubescent young parts;leaves alternate, bipinnate compound, large, 10-15 cm long, pubescent with a single large sessile gland near the base and generally one between bases of termi.
    This tree has gained significance in Dendro bio-energy applications as it laps up the sun (sooriya) and grows quickly
    Allamanda cathartica (Golden trumpet) Val Ruk Attana - Chashakapushpi - - Ornamental plant, but the milky latex is poisonous. Although claimed to be from Brazil, it is known in Sanskrit. Image -
    Allium ascalonicum (red onions, shallots)
    Liliaceae family.
    Rathuloonu- Lasuna, rasona - Vellaippuntu- -
    Allium sativum (Garlic) Suduloonu - - puntu, vellulli Garlic is a valuable component in good cooking.
    Claims have been made that consumption of garlic reduces stomach, intestinal and colo-rectal cancers, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol etc., esp by proponents of alternative medicine. The picture is not unequivocal although there seems to be some evidence in favour of these claims. Some scientific studies on garlic
    Allophylus cobbe, A. zeylanicus (Tit berry) Kobbe, kobbae කොබෙයි ගභ - Triputa- Amalai- Native to Sri Lanka. The bark is used, peeled down towards the roots, to make bandages in traditional orthopaedic treatments. Images and write up.
    Alocasia indica, Alocasia macrorrhiza (Taro) Habarala - - - Place names Habarana, Habaraduwa, Habarakada, Haburu gala, Sabaragamuwa are well known

    The name "habarala" is used loosely in sinhala for Colacasia and Xanthosoma species as well. Habarala is etymologically "Haburu ala". The name "Haburu" tends to be used for "Gahala" interchangably.
    A robust herb with bright green, large, triangular-sagittate, slightly repand leaves with strongly marked, whitish midrib, strong, pale secondary nerves. Alocasia plants differ from Colocasia by having the leaf stalk (petiole) join the leaf blade nearer the basal notch. In Colocasia, the petiole is attached closer to the center of the blade.
    Some varieties of gahala are edible if boiled sufficiently to get rid of hydrogencyanide which is generated from the Cyanogenic Gulocside contained in these tubers. Ginger contains linamarase-like compounds capable of releasing hydrocyanic acid from the glucoside (e.g., see: Kodagoda N, Marcus V, Ambalavaner S. Some observations on the liberation of hydrogen cyanide from manioc. Proceedings of the Annual Sessions of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science 1973; 1: 38.). Hence it is best to avoid Ginger with Manioc, Gahala, Habarala, Hondala and other tubers which contain glucosides associated with poisonous acids. -
    Alocasia cucullata (Chinese Taro, Buddha hand) Panu-habarala - - - "Leaves heart-shaped ; In Sri lanka used medicinally and as an ornamental plant. Image
    Alocasia macrorrhizos (giant taro, elephant-ear taro, Variegated Upright Elephant Ear) Nai Habarala, Habarala, Ali habarala - Hastikarni - Parum sembu - The leaves can grow to three meters and is said to be the largest known undivided leaf.-large handsome variegated leaves : used only in native medicine. Images
      Images and notes Alocasia macrorrhiza, Giant Taro, Giant Elephant Ear, Upright Elephant Ear, Pai Alocasia alba is the smaller, common species in Sri Lanka.
    Alocasia sp. (Chinese Taro, Buddha hand) Mapil-habarala - - - A medicinal species, distinct by a spotted leaf-stalk, the vernacular name is said to be derived from the supposed resemblance of the latter to the "Mapila" snake (cat snake Boiga ceylonensis, or Boiga barnesii ). Maspil habarala image
    Aloe species- Vel Komarika
    Vael Komarika
    - - (see also Clough's dictionary)
    A perennial herb with a very short, thick, cylindrical, simple, woody stem sending out at the base numerous stolons; roots fibrous and fleshy; leaves not very- numerous, sessile, densely crowded on the short stem with wide, dilated bases, spreading below.

    The most commonly used preparation from this herb is the aloe gel, a thick viscid liquid found in the interior of the leaves. The leaves are used in the treatment of burns etc. See Komarika
    Aloe vera - littiralis Komarica, Komarika - - Pulp of thick leaf has medicinal applications. See Aloe Vera Images and claims of use in traditional medicine
    Alpinia calcarata Heen Araththa- - - Medicinal herb used in Sinhala medicine. Seee Arambawela et al., Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 95, Issues 2-3, December 2004, Pages 311-316
    Alpinia galanga Maha Araththa, Arratta, Gandhanakuli (Clough P153), Kaluwala (p114 of Clough) - arattai,perarattai Tuberous medicinal plant related to Turmeric.
    Alstonia macrophylla Havari Nuga - - Similar to Ruk Atana (see A. Scholaris)
    Alstonia scholaris, c.f., Alastonia S. (milkwood pine, Indian Devil tree) Ruk Attana saptaparna elilaippalai Large Tree. see also under Datura
    Attampana (Adampan), Attampanthala (Adampantalavu) Podidompe (Sinnadampan)
    Seeds are highly poisonous and alters consciousness. The bark and latex are used in herbal medications.
    Alstonia venenata Midella raja-adana sinnappalai, palamunnipalai -
    Alternanthera sessilis Mukunuwenna, Mukunuvaenna matsyaksaka ponnankanni, kotuppai A prostrate herb with numerous, subquadrangular, glabrous stems, 15-60 cm long.- valuable SRI Lanka leaf-food, in "Kola kaenda"(leaf broth) and "Maellung"(cooked salad). Medicinal uses in herbal medicine. Images and write up
    Alysicarpus ovalifolius, A. vaginalis (white moneywort, Alyce clover) Aswenna Aesvaenna
    used in ayurveda-
    - - A semi-woody herbaceous annual with numerous long stems ~60 cm long, ascending, branched, wiry, glabrous, often rooting at the base; leaves alternate, 1-foliate, variable, ~1.2 cm long, on petioles about a third as long, varying from linear-lanceolate.-
    Amaranthus oleraceus, A- paniculatus, A-spinosus. Red Amaranth Thampala - - - See Amaranthus Tricolor for the common "Tampala".
    A- paniculatus is a tall annual, ~1.2 m high with stout, grooved and striate, glabrous or slightly pubescent stems ; leaves simple, alternate, ~5 cm long, ~2.5cm broad, elliptic lanceolate, acute or acuminate, base cuneate, nerves slender, numerous.
    A. Spinosus is much shorter, green. -
    Amaranthus polygonoides vael Tampala- - - A prostrate, glabrous herb with many spreading branches ; leaves small, 0.7 cm long, 0.5 broad, obovate or obovate-lanceolate or spathulate, obtuse or rounded at apex, sharply apiculate. tapering to the petiole.-
    Amaranthus tricolor Amaranth Thampala tanduliyah ? cerikkirai,thandukkeerai Palahena (Palachenai) Palamotte (Palamoddai) Thampalagama (Tampalakamam)
    The seeds of the red amaranth, as well as the plant itself were a major food in early cultures. Its genes (Amaranth Albumin 1, AmA1) have now been introduced by Indian scientists into potatoes, to produce transgenic potatoes which contain between 35 and 60 percent more protein than unmodified potatoes. They also contain increased levels of amino acids, notably lysine, tyrosine and sulphur, which are usually limited in potatoes
    Amaranthus viridis Koora Thampala tanduliyah kuppaikkirai, vakucakkirai -
    Amorphophallus campanulatus Bl., Amorphophallus paeonhifolius Dennst. (Elephant-foot yam, Carrion flower, Devils tounge) Kidaran, kidaaran -කිඩාරං Surana karakarunai, boomi sallaraikilangu The plant is an aroid or arum, i.e., a plant of the family Araceae; having small flowers massed on a spadix surrounded by a large spathe. It has "habarala-like" tubers which can be eaten if properly cooked. If improperly cooked, the tubers are poisonous. When the plant flowers, a very unpleasant odor is given out, resembling that of carrion, and flies cover the club of the spadix with their eggs. Images and write up   Image
    Ampelocissus indica - Rata Bawlath Vael, Val midda vael ? - - - Image- A vine with grape-like fruit (poisonous) probabaly containing oxalates.
    Anacardium occidentale (Cashew) Kadju, kaju kajutaka muntiri, andimangottai Popularized by the Portuguese, initially as a soil improver.
    Anoectochilus setaceus Blume, Anaectochilus setaceus Vana raja mala, WanaRaja mala - - Exceptional ground Orchid, still found in the Sinharaja. Christie Alwis: "beautiful Orchids
    Amyrus agallocha Gugulu - - type of balsam tree, as per Clough's dictionary, p163; also the name "gugulu" seems to have been used for murunga.
    Anamirta cocculus (Poison berry, Fish berry) Thiththawel - Thiththavael Anamurthi- kakkai-k-kolli, Nanju in malayalam - A woody climber shrub. The kidney shaped seeds turn red when ripened.
    The name "Cocculus indicu" has also been used, especially for the seed. The seeds contain 2 alkaloids - Menispermine and paramenisperme and the fat from the seeds contain Palmitic, stearic, Oleic and Linoleic acids. Its leaves, seeds and fruits are used in Ayurvedic preparations. The fruits are bitter and poisonous. However, they are used in various parts of south asia as Astringent, Expectorant, Antifungal, Anthelmintic and in controlling head lice, scabies etc. The powdered seed is used as a fish poison (in South India), and adversely destroys all aquatic life. It causes cause trembling, tetanic convulsions in animals and may even kill cattle. Image of climbe   Additonal images
    Ananas comosus (Pineapple) Annnasi bahunetra, paravati anashap-pazham, poonthazham pazham Popularized by the Portuguese. Native to the Amazon with the Tupi name Nana However, some sinhala writers have argued that "Anna-asi" is derived from the words "sword (asi) which cuts (digests) the food (anna)". Names of fruits, plants etc are, unfortunately, never realistically originate from such clear etymological bases!
    Pinapple is one of the few ground growing Bromeliads, and it is also one of the few edible-fruit bearing members of this group of plants.
    Pineapple which contains Bromelian enzyme is well known for its valuable digestive properties, and in controlling purine buildup in the blood (Gout formation) etc. It is also used as a meat tenderizer.   Medicinal uses claimed for Bromeldiads
    Ananas sativus Annasi anannasa, ama annaci see Ananas comosus
    Anaphalis subdecurrense Maha Sudana - - -
    Andrographis paniculata Heen Kohomba- - nilavembu, nilavempu see also: Azadirachta indica
    Andropogon contortus Itana - kavattampul? a grass
    Andropogon muricatum Savandara, Saevaendara,Sawandara Birana (Pali), laamajjaka (Pali), Virana, Usira (sanskrit) - Fragrant grass, mentioned in Pali and Sanskrit texts.
    Andropogon squarrosus saevandara - - a grass
    Angel mamelos, Angel marmelos see Aegle marmelos Beli - - -see Aegle marmelos
    Anisochilus carnosus Kapparavalli - karppuravalli Medicinal: Stimulants,Coughs,Expectorants
    Anisomeles indica - Yak Wanassa - - - -
    Anisophyllea cinnamomoides - Welipiyan, Vaelipiyan- - - found in swamp forests, connected to the mangrove family-
    Annona Muricata (sour-sop, custard apple) Katu Anoda,,Anona, Katu-Aaththa, Katu-anoda
    The name Katu-Aaththa is closely related to the Bengali name Aththa, also used in Portuguese. The Tamil name is clearly derived from the Sanskrit. Note that these names are used indiscriminately for Annona Muricata and Annona squamosa which is very similar (squamosa is correctly Vaeli Aththa, while muricata is Katu-Anoda or Katu-Aaththa)
    This is a well-known Sri lankan fruit with a very special falvour, due to the presence of various aliphatic esters which may be useful in food flavoring (2-hexenoic acid methyl ester 23.9% is dominant; Jirovetz et al.,J. Agric. Food Chem., 1998, 46 (9), pp 37193-720 ). The tree is small and fast-growing. The skin of the rather large fruit is thin and is covered with conical nibs. The white, pulpy flesh, which contains juice, is peppered with small shiny, black inedible seeds, and has a pleasant, sweet-acidic taste. As it is rather fibrous, its squeezed juice makes a better choice, and has, in fact become more popular than the fresh fruit as such. Soursop has few seedless varieties, but they are rare.
    sitaphal- Seetha palam Claimed medicinal benefits of Sour soup..   Its use as an anti-cancer agent (cyto-toxitc agent) has been tauted in the internet. However, we have found no reports of double-blind in vivo human experiments in reputed journals. Cytotoxic acetogenins have been reported for in vitro studies: F-R Change et al, J. Nat. Prod., 2001, 64 (7), pp 925-931
    Reports such as the following may be found on the internet:
    An interesting in vivo study was published in March of 2002 by researchers in Japan, who were studying various acetogenins found in several species of plants. They inoculated mice with lung cancer cells. One third received nothing (the control group), one third received the chemotherapy drug adriamycin, and one third received the main graviola acetogenin, annonacin (at a dosage of 10 mg/kg). At the end of two weeks, five of the six in the untreated control group were still alive and lung tumor sizes were then measured. The adriamycin group showed a 54.6% reduction of tumor mass over the control group-but 50% of the animals had died from toxicity (three of six). The mice receiving annonacin were all still alive, and the tumors were inhibited by 57.9% -slightly better than adriamycin and without toxicity. This led the researchers to summarize; "This suggested that annonacin was less toxic in mice. On considering the antitumor activity and toxicity, annonacin might be used as a lead to develop a potential anticancer agent." . See also anecdotal reports on anti-cancer activity in Katupila. However, Katupila is not the same as Katu-Anonda (Anona Muricata) We identify Katupila with Fluegea Leucopyrus (Euphorbiaceae)
    Annona reticulata Vaeli Anoda lavani- aninuna, manilayatta -
    Annona squamosa vaeli-Aththa, Anona sitaphala atta, sitapalam -
    Anoectochilus setceus (Orchid) Wana Raja, Vana raaaja - - -
    Anogeissus latifolia Dawu, Davu - - namai,vekkali A small or medium-sized tree with an erect trunk, very smooth whitish-grey bark and glabrous young parts; leaves simple, alternate or subopposite without stipules.-
    Antiaris toxicaria Riti gaha - nettavil A tall evergreen tree about 40-45 m tall with a straight, trunk buttressed at the base and vertically panelled, mottled black and white bark; leaves simple, alternate, 10-20 cm long, oblong or oval-oblong, acuminate, mucronate, cuspidate, subcaudate, entire.-
    Anthurium andraeanum; Araceae (arum family) Anthurium - - 800 odd species, Introduced to Sri Lanka, by horticulturalists, as it is an important component of the cut-flower industry. ERach plant yields 4-6 flowers per year. It is a "Habarala"-like plant with glossy leaves. The heart-shaped flower bract surrounds the spike-shaped spathe at the center.   Images and short write up
    Antidesma montanum,Antidesma pubescens
    IUCN redlisted
    Karawala-kabella, Kaeballa
    is Antidesma thwaitesianum
    - peyicci
    is Antidesma menasu
    Bot. specimen
    Asclepias eriocarpa, (Monarch milkweed)
    Varaa, Wara
    is a sinhala generic name for varieties of Asclepias, and also sometimes for Calotropis varaieties
    - - Asclepias eriocarpa also an ornamental plant, or grown in gardens to attract Monarch butterflies
    Aponogeton crispus, Aponogeton natans Kekatiya
    Aponogeton jacobsenii, A. rigidifolius are also known as "Kekatiya", and regarded as threatened species (IUCN red list).
    ke-kaetti, and kotti are also used, esp. in Tamil speaking areas. -
    - Kotti
    This word may be derived from the Prakrit form Kaeti, where "kaeti" means cluster in sinhala.
    A submerged, fresh-water herb with a tuberous, subspherical, stoloniferous rootstock, leaves long-petioled. - makes one white flower. Kekatiya images etc
    See also closely related (or equivalent) aquatic plant: Aponogeton monostachyum
    See name resolutions at The plant List
    -Aporosa lindleyana Kebella, Kaebaella,Kaebella, Kabella - Kodali, Vettikan, Vettil, Vittil, Vitti Place names Keballa, Kebellakumbura Kebedduwa Kebellaketiya Kebiliyapola, Kebellewela Kebellagoda Kebellagodawela Kebellawita Kebella-agare Kebellawita Kebellawitagama Kebellegama Kodalikallu (Kaebellagala) Kodalikkallu Kodaliparichchan (Kaebella-pirihena, කැබෙල්ලපිරිහේන) Kodarikulama, etc

    Scepa lindleyana Wt. is synonymous. Large tree with smooth bark, with simple, alternate leaves., Flowers unisexual, dioecious; male flowers in axillary catkins; female flowers in condensed cymes. Root and bark extracts, crushed leaves etc., are used as anti-infectious medications, analgesics in alternative medicine. Antioxidant activity in root extract has been reported.
    It is used as a prop. in betel (Piper betel L.) plantations.
    Aquilaria agallocha Roxb. (Agar wood) Aegila (?) Kalani-niryaasa (Sanskrit name of the resin)- - Used in perfume products as the wood resin is valued-
    Aranthera Bartha Braga (Scorpion orchid) Gonusu mal - - Common orchid in SL. See orchids
    Arbus pecatorius Gajaparaka, Gajaparaaka, Olinda - - Plant bearing red seeds, with a black mark, very similar to Olinda
    Ardisia humilis - Balu Dan - - - -
    Areca catechu Puwak, Puvak puga, kramuka kamugu, pakku -
    Areca concinna (Thw.)- Len taeri, Len-teri - - - Species native to Sri Lanka, related to the famous Betel Nut palm, and threatened by habitat loss. (IUCN red list) The best-known member of the genus is A. catechu, (the arecanut palm). Several types of Areca nuts, known for their stimulating and tangy taste, are used for chewing, especially in combination with the leaves of Betels.
    Argyreia nervosa, Argyreia populifolia (Elephant creeper,Woolly Morning Glory. )
    Family: Convolvulaceae
    Girithilla samudraphalaka, vriddadaru, Vidhara, murva,- kakkatan, katar-palai, samuttira-p-pala Images and write up Its use in traditional medicine in Sri lanka is reported in "Lanka Chronicle" as: "Various parts of the plant, including the latex, are used externally on the gums and wounds. The root of this pounded and boiled in coconut milk applied with excellent results to inflammation or swelling after dog bite. It is used also in cases of mad dog bites in order to prevent hydrophobia." The plant is specific and native to Sri Lanka.
    It is classified as a schedule III depressant by the DEA (US drug enforcement administration), although the substance has hallucinogenic/psychedelic properties. and the sale of seeds is banned or controlled.
    Arisaema leschenaultii - Wal Kidaeam Val Kidaeam, Val Kidaram-
    Arisaema constrictum (Barnes) is said to be "Ati-udayang"
    - - Monoecious or dioecious, luberous herb, tuber globose, about 5 cm diameter roots from the upper side of the tuber stem about 15 cm long, clothed with long mottled sheaths; leaf solitary ; petiole stout. 30-60 cm long, pale green. mottled and handed with red.-
    Aristolochia bracteata sapunda species? - atutintappalai Aristocholia plants are carcinogenic.
    Aristolochia bracteata Sapunda species? - pankampalai Aristocholia plants are carcinogenic.
    Aristolochia indica (Indian Birthwort) Sapunda, Sapsunda, Sapasanda Ishwari, Ahigandha - perumaruntu, Perularundu It is a creeper plant found in Sri lanka and South India, and grows on host trees.. Used in herbal medicine, e.g., to Attenuate fever,and as an emmenogouge, although it is believed to have carcinogenicity, contains aristolochic acid which is highly nephrotoxic. Is sapunda dangerous? It has been claimed that Stephania tetranda should be used in herbal preparations instead of Aristolchia fanghi or A. Indica.
    Artabotrys hexapetalus Yakada-wel, Yakada Vael - manoranjitham, tiga-sampangi Threatened species.
    Artanema longifolium - Gas Kotala, Gas Kethala - machipatchai ?- -
    Artemisia annua (sweet wormwood) Image Naagadamana, Naga Damana (?)
    The name "naaga damana" may indicate that the juice of this plant, when thrown at a snake, makes the snake slow and weak (we have no confirmation or rebuttal of this).
    - Makkippu Sometimes as a weed, it is a highly aromatic ornamental shrub. It is a much branched, glabrous, sweetly aromatic annual plant which may grows to a height of about 2 meters.The leaves are bi- or tri- pinnatified, linear to lanceolate. The flowers are yellow, appear in loose pinnacles.
      Images and write up Used in traditional Indo-Asian medicine in infusions etc., and believed to reduce fever, and even act as an anti-malarial medication (esp. against Plasmodium falciparum malaria). It is well known in Chinese traditional medicine as Qinghaosu
    The plant contains an essential oil Artemisinin (a sesqiterpenelactone), and flavanoids.
    Artemisia moderaspatana, Grangea maderaspatana, Perdicium tomentosum (Madras carpet) Mastharu, Masipathri- - Regarded as a weed,   Images and write up Used in traditional Indo-Asian medicine as a stomach ant-spasmodic, in infusions etc.
    Artocarpus Altilis Dell - palavu, Palaa, pila There are many species of breadfruit. They are hybrids of Artocarpus Altilis and Artocarpus mariannensis.
    Artocarpus mariannensis Wal Dell ? - palavu, Palaa, pila ? There are many species of breadfruit. They are hybrids of Artocarpus Altilis and Artocarpus mariannensis.
    read about varieties of bread fruit
    Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jack fruit) Herali, Kos, Vaela Panasam pila, pala, Palavu The Mayalam Chakka is believed to be the origin of the English name.7nbsp; Image and write up It is claimed that "Vaeli kos aeta", (seeds) are good for diabetes - anecdotal sources only. Pols ambul, Kalupol maelluma are preparations using unripe Jack used as a vegetable. Atu kos, i.e., jack dried on the hearth ("Atuva") is smoked, shredded jack fruit which may be used in curry, or make into deserts with sugar syrup. The timber is highly valued. "Vaela" is the sinhlala name, some times used for a variety of "kos", but mostly use for the ripe, sweet stage of Kos. "Herali" is mostly used for the uripe stage of the fruit. We have no information on the origin of the sinhala word "Kos" (note, Assamese and Bengali: name: Kothal, Kathal, Thai: Kahnoon ), it may have originated from Kothal →. Koth → Kos .
    Artocarpus Indica Varaka muraja-phala muracapalam, Varukkai -
    Arundina graminifolia Udawediya Mal, Udavaediya Mal - - -
    Asparagus gonoclados Hathavariya, Hathaavaariya, Hathawariya, Hathawaariya, Saathamul Shatavari thanneervittan kizhangu, Sirumal see below, Asparagus racemosus
    Asparagus officinalis Asparagus Hathavariya, aesparagas, aspara-goba
    This is the common vegetable, available in the spring. A good account is found in the Wikipedia. This is not native to Sri Lanka.
    Shatavari, Shooksmapatra catavari, thanneervittan kizhangu, Sirumal The young shoot is eaten lightly steamed or gently cooked, and contains antioxidants, potassium, folates, and vitamins, fiber etc. The medicinal qualities attributed to wild asparagus (see below) have been claimed for culinary asparagus as well. The juice of the root is used in Ayurvedic medicine (Narayana Taila, satamulyadi lauha, satavari Ghrita in India).
    Asparagus racemosus (wild asparagus, sparrow grass) Haathavariya, Hathaavaariya, Hathawariya, Hathawaariya, Saathamul, Hathamul satavari, shatavari, shathamulya catavari, kilavari, Sandavari. Other names (liliaceae family) are: Asparagus Sarmentosus, Asparagus Gonoclados, Asparagus Adscendens
    Used in traditional medicine, esp. for unrinary problems, menopausal symptoms and increases of lactation, and other "feminine problems". Claims have been made that asparagus helps to reduce the risk of cancer and even AIDS. It is also claimed to reduce the tendency for gout, kidney stones etc.   Image and write up As usual, no adequate double-blind experiments are available in most cases and hence these claims remain unsubstantiated. However, asparagus is a common food and hence it can be used very safely.
    Aspidium viviparum Ganga-meevana, Gangameevana - - Place name Meevanna also exists.
    A species of shield fern.
    Asteracantha longifolia, (Hydrophila auriculata, Hygrophilia spinosa) Ikiriya, Katu-Ikiriya, Neeramulliya, kokila kokilaksa nirmulli Diuretic, native remedy for kidney stones, HerbalTeas
    A perennial herb with an ascending rhizome ; stems numerous, 60-120 cm tall, erect, nearly unbranched, somewhat compressed, thickened at nodes and hispid with long hair between nodes leaves simple. sessile. whorled.-
    Asystasia coromandeliana, Asystasia gangetica
    (Creeping foxglove, Chinese violet, Asystasia)
    nil-puruk (?)
    However, see also under Ruellia
    - medday keerai, peyppatchotti Several related species: A. variabilis (Nees). A. chelonoides Nees Woody perrenial.
    Atalantia monophylla Wal Dehi, Val dehi- - kurundu There is also a variety known as "Gadaa dehi", with a rough skin, known as Kaffre lime.
    Atalantia ceylanica A. zeylanica- Yakinaran, yak-naaran - Atalantia rotundifolia (Thw.) Tanaka is also listed as Yakinaran- Citrus collection -
    Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade) visa-batuvael ? - - This well-known source of atropine alkaloids does NOT seem to have an accepted Sinhala (Visa batu vael ?- a name touted by a planter but we have found no basis.) or Tamil name. Perhaps only habitats in the up-country dry zone would support this plant which does not seem to be natively known in Sri Lanka.
    Its poison was used since antiquity as a death portion, or for inducing hallucinations. The plant (small berries on a wine, with flowers very similar to the flower of egg plant) is in the aubergine, tomato and potato family
    In India it is found mainly in regions like Kashmir. It is known under various names in Northern India : bantamaku, sag-angur, yebrui, girbuti.
    It is a strong narcotic, sedative, diuretic, hallucinogen.
    Austroeupatorium Inulifolium, Eupatorium inulifolium Kunth
    Daisy family
    Siam weed, crofton weed.
    Image of Eupatorium inulifolium Eupatorum Odoratum from Waellavaya, Ella
    Sudda, සුද්ද Valsudda
    Not to be confused with vathusudda, Wathusudda or Watusudda (Ervatamia divaricata).
    - - Family: Asteraceae.
    Austroeupatorium inulifolium is an aggressive species that rapidly colonizes areas cleared for planting new crops, agricultural fields, fallow fields, waste lands and roadsides. This was introduced it to Sumatran rubber plants. It has been introduced to Sri lanka in the 1930s. Write up and Image, Lalith Gunasekera
    Antifunfals have been isolated from E. riparium by Bandara et al.
    Averrhoa Bilimbi Bilin - - Origin in the Malayan region, perhaps endemic to Sri lanka as well- Tree has small fruit used in chutneys and "Biling Achchcaru" etc. Images, write up
    Avicennia marina, A. officinalis (Mangrove) Manda - Kanna -
    Azadirachta indica (Margosa) Family: Meliaceae (mahogany family) Kohomba

    It is medicinally and ritualistically important in Sri Lankan culture. "Kohomba Kankaariya" is a well-known low-country exorcist ritual dance. The Kohomba Kankariya begins with an invocation to the deity of the Kohomba tree, and NOT to the Buddhist 'Tun Sarana' as in most other Sri Lankan exorcism dances.
    Sinhalese homes make "Milk rice", to be eaten with jaggary, during the Sinhala new year (Bak masa ulela). The "Kohomba" leaves are crushed and applied on the body at an "auspicious" time, but not eaten.
    Pakvakrita, nimbaka, nimba-

    Images and write up from "Flowers of India
    vempu, vembu, veppa

    "Pachchadi" is a "sambol" (savoury spicy mixture) made of the flowers of Margosa, the sour mango, and sweet jaggery. Sweet rice (made with new red rice, jaggery, cashew nuts ghee, and plums) was eaten together with this sambol during Sinhala-Tamil new year (Hindu homes).
    Some place-names with Kohomba-
    Aratikohombe (Aladiwembu) Maha-Vaedi-Kohombe (Mavidivembu) Kohombagamathota (Kombanachchi) Kohombaweva (Veppankulam) Kohombavaella (Veppanveli)

    Read "About Kohomba" .
    Neem extract is an eco-friendly insecticide and pesticide. It is manufactured in India and other S. Asian countries. As far as we are aware, in Sri Lanka, Kohomba extract is manufactured and distributed mainly by the Island Marketing Services (pvt), Nawala, Sri Lanka
    Azolla pinnata,(Mosquito Fern, Duckweed fern, Water fern, Fairy moss) pas-penda, kaerli penda? කැරලි පෙඳ   පස් පෙඳ Pasubhojya, Plavini - Azolla filiculoides, Azolla caroliniana, Azolla anabena are related species of agricultural importance. It has been used in south asia for a long time in rice-paddy cultivation as a manure (bio-fertilizer). Its manure action is related to its N-producing nodules and symbiosis with green algae (cyanobacterium Anabaena), and in making compost. It is also used as a cattle feed.
    Images and notes   Efforts to use azolla in Tamil Nadu
    Regulation of nitrogenase activity by light in the azolla-anabaena symbiosis by S. A. Kulasooriya et al., Peradeniya Botany dept.

    Go to the Top
    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Baccurea mottleyana (Rambi) Gaduguda - - The plant (Rambi) probabaly originated in Java - Indonesia. The fruit is eaten raw, consumed as juice or jelly etc. The plant has been studied within a Sri Lankan context by Pushpakumara and H. M. P. Gunasena"   under-utilized fruit plants   Pictures of fruit   RE: The book " A Selection of Fruits of Sri Lanka by J. and T. Fernando 1997" Medicinal: fruit is used in dermatology.
    Bacopa monnieri Lunuvila, Lunuwila Brahami pirami, piramiyam, carumam Place names: Lunuvilaweva (Panemiyankulam); Medicinal: Aperients, Diuretic.
    Balanocarpus brevipetiolaris (Thw.) Alston ,br> synonym Shorea brevipetiolaris Dunmala - - Threatened IUCN list.
    see also Balanocarpus kitulgallensis (Kosterm}
    Balanophora fungosa Thippili - yanai, thippali -
    Baliospermum montanum Deththa - Danthi - peyamanakku Has been used in indian medicine. e.g., one prescription (clear;y toxic in view of modern knowledge) says: Naraaccha rasa.1 Take of mercury, borax and black pepper, one part each, sulphur, ginger and long pepper two parts each, seeds of Baliospermum montanum nine parts; powder the ingredients and make into two-grain pills with water. These are given in constipation and tympanites. (source Hindu-materia Medica)
    Ballota disticha Heen Yak-wanassa
    mint-like plant
    - - Burman, Johannes, Thesaurus zeylanicus, t. 71 (1737)
    Bambusa vulgaris (Bamboo) Una, උන   unabambu, උනබම්බු Vamsah, Venuh- Mulmankil Bambo is a fast-growing, prennial woody grass. It is a part of South Indian culture, with the Bamboo flute figuring early in Sanskrit works. The name "Una" appears in many Sri lankan place names like "Una-Pandura", "Unagalla, Unapaana".
    It is of immense economic importance but it has been extremely under exploited in Sri Lanka. See Kariyawasam on bamboo utilization Much can be learnt from the way Bamboo is used in China, Japan and in India. It is used: (i)To prevent soil erosion on hillsides and as a wind barrier(ii)Earth-quake resistant buildings (iii)Wood for furniture, fuel, poles, scaffolding, pulp, paper, composite planks, fabric, curtains, match sticks, incense sticks etc. (iii)Bamboo shoots are used as food. (iv)As a "Dendro" bio-fuel since bambo re-grows fast.   India's National bamboo mission
    The young shoots of the tree are claimed to b be useful in stomach disorders. Pickled or cooked, they serve as an appetizer. In many parts of India the leaves of the tree are used in the from of decoction to treat diarrhoea, worms etc. Bamboo sticks are used in massage therapy. See also Bata lee -
    Barleria L Sinhala /Tamil names everal of these woody perrenials, shrubs,have not been identified. They are often known as "katu-kurundu". - - Some Barleria species: B. involucrata Nees, B. lanceata (Forssk).{= B. noctzpora L.}, B. nitida Nees, tB. nutans Nees, see below for others.
    Barleria buxifolia (Box-leaved Barleria) katu-nelu, katu nelu Iksura kattimullu This plant (Acanthaceae) is mentioned in B. Clough's dictionary
    Box-Leaved Barleria is a shrub 5-6 ft tall, with strong spines under the leaves. Leaves are nearly stalkless, with hairs on both sides scattered, white, short. Spines below the leaves are 6-6 mm long, simple and straight. Flowers arise mostly solitary, purple blue. Bracts are 6-8 mm long, reduced to simple spines. Flower-tube is 1.8–2.5 cm long, slightly widened upwards.
    Images and notes
    Barleria cristata
    (Philippine violet , Bluebell barleria or Crested Philippine violet)
    Godame~riya - nilamparam, udamulli Shrub. different parts of Barleria Cristata have been used traditionally for the treatment of variety of diseases including anaemia, toothache, cough and as a hypoglycemic agent. Roots and leaves were used to reduce swellings in inflammation. Images and details of the plant Today it is'used in landscaping because of its attractive blue to white flowers, although it has the risk of becoming a weed. It grows best at heights of 1000 meters.
    Barleria lupulina - Ranvan Katukarandu - - - -
    Barleria prionitis -(Porcupine flower, Barleria ) Katu Kurandu, Katukarandu - Vajradanthi Kundan, cemmulli, Varamulli - A small shrub, ~0.6-1 m tall, much branched, branches cylindrical, swollen above nodes labrous with sle er, very sharp spines in leaf axils, each with 3-ivaricate branches leaves simple.
    It is claimed to have medicinal properties similar to "Aaadathoda". Images and write up The flower may be deep yellow to very pale yellow or whitish.
    Barleria mysorensis Roth katu-nelu- - ikkiri, kikkiri, kirimulla Small dry-zone shrub
    Barringtonia acutangula - Ela Midella, Diya Midella - - - -
    Barringtonia asiatica Midella - - -
    Basella alba (Ceylon spinach, Malabar nightshade), c.f., Brassica alba Nivithi, Niwithi, Gam nivithi upodika venpacali, sivappu vasalakkirai, pasali Niwiitigala of the Sabaragamuwa province is a place name with "Nivithi".
    A slender climbing perennial, with succulent stems and leaves, which may be used as a potherb or spinach, for which they are a good substitute. It is often cultivated in the low-country. Propagated by seed sown during the rains, preferably in rows, sticks being provided for support to the vines.-
    Bassia latifolia, B. longifolia, Madhuca loggifolia
    (Honey tree)
    Mee, Madupa Madhupa iluppai, kattu iluppai Ranmeeweva (Irana-illupaikulam), Madhupahena (Illupayadichenai) Meepathota (Illupaikadavi)
    see Madhuca longifolia Bassia Nerifolia is "Gang-mee".
    Bauhinia racemosa Maila anupushpaka- svetakanchana atti, vellai mantarai Mahilaweva (Mahilankulam) Mahiyapitiya (Mahiyapitti) Mahilataenna (Mylanthanai) Maligaspitiya (Mayilagasthidar) Vakulavaedda (Makilavettuvan) Maligaspe (Mailakaspai)
    A small tree with a thick, knotted trunk, much branched, bark blackish, very rough and much furrowed; leaves simple, alternate, small, conduplicate, 3.1-3.7 cm long, broader than long, truncate at base, cut 1/3 down into two broadly oval, rounded lobes.
    Bauhinia tomentosa (Yellow orchid tree) Petan, Kaha Penath asmantaka- kattatti,tiruvatti Images and write up
    Bauhinia variegata (mountain ebony, Orchid tree) Koboleela Raktha Kanchana segappumandrai, tiruvatti Used for reforstation, wood board, production of gums and fibers, and also in alternative medicine where a decoction of the bark etc. is used.. Review
    Benincasa hispida Alu Puhul Rasaksa ? Poosani, Pusalikkai, Vaidyakumbalam Puhulvaella (Pullawali) Pulmoddai (Puhulmotte) Puhuleliya (Puloli)
    Begonia cordifolia Gal Ebala - - -
    Begonia malabarica Maha Hakabala (Mal) - - -
    Begonia suave-oleans Kumburu wel, Kumburu Vael - - creeper with a trumpet-like flower
    Begonia tenera (Dry) Bim-hakambala - - Threatened creeper, IUCN red list
    Berberis ceylanica Schnei. (barberry) Suvana, Daruharida Daruharidhra - Shrub up to 3 m tall, yellow flowered. Found up country. A "kasaaya" (decoction) made of the bark is used as a purge by estate workers. The fruits may be eaten. The bark is a valuable source of Tannin in India.
    Berrya cordifolia Halmilla
    Timber tree
    - Chamndalai, Chavandalai, Kambamaram ToponymsHalmillavatta (Camulaiyativattai)
    Biophytum sensitivum
    Images and write up
    wood-sorrel family, sensitive plant.
    Gas nidikumba Jhullipuspa, Lajjaluka, Panktipatra, Pitapushpa, Vipareetalajjaalu tintanali, nilzccurunki One of the ten flowers (`dasha-pushpam') of aurveda and sidha medical systems of south-asia
    Bignonia salina Lunu Madala - - Mentioned by Charles Pridham
    Birixa orilana Ratakaha karachhada- varagumanjal, mantiravanci Medicinal applications.
    Blepharis repens - Samadana - - - A slender, perennial herb with prostrate, hispid-hairy, slightly branched, wiry stems; lea sessile, in a whorl, two of each whorl larger than others, oblong, 0.8-1.5 cm long, 0.3 cm broad, obtuse or rounded at apex, glabrous or slightly scabrid, fleshy and pale.-
    Blumea balsamifera (Ngai Camphor)
    Family: Asteraceae (sunflower family) -
    kapuru -? Kukundara; Kukkura-dru- - The plant is a strongly aromatic (camphor-like) herb that grows tall and erect. Its height ranges from 1.5 to 3 meters, with stems that grow for up to 2.5 centimeters. It is an anti-urolithiasis and work as a diuretic. It is used in alternative medicine for kidney disorders.-
    Blumea mills
    Family: Asteraceae
    Kukura, kapuru - Blumea pictures - - A camphor source. An annual herb (aromatic) with an erect stem ~30 cm high, branched above.-
    Blumea lacera (Kakaronda)
    Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
    "Kukundara" is a name used by sinhalese ayurvedic practitioners. -Kukkuradru, Kukundara kattumullangi Images and write up
    Its hot pugngent (turpentine/camphor-like) ordor is used to drive away flies etc, and the plant is used in local medications.
    Boerhavia diffusa (pg weed) Pita sudu sarana, Saarana - mukkirattai The leaf is used in "maellung" (cooked salad).
    Bombax ceiba Katu-Imbul, Pulun Imbul Shalmali, purani- mullilavu, ilavu See: Ceiba pentandra
    Bombax malabaricum Katu Imbul mahavriksha ? purani, mullilavu, Poolai Imbul weva (Ilavankulam) Pulunkaduva (Poolaakkaadu)
    Borassus flabellifer Tal gaha - panai -
    Borayo Zylanica (borago) Yon-thumba, Yon thumba - - A small plant, sometimes referred to as Sithadrona in sinhala medicinal texts.
    Boswellia serrata
    (Indian Olibanum tree)
    Salake, Galaba Gaha ?, Gajapriya glabra, Shallaksi vellai kunkiliyam, muraiyidam, muruntapali, Sambrani Maram A deciduous, medium-sized tree with an ash-coloured, papery bark which peels off in thin flakes; young shoots and leaves pubescent ; leaves alternate, crowded at the ends of branches.- The name Gajapriya is given in Clough's 1892 dictionary. The name Shallaki is used in Indian preparations. Salake is claimed to be the Sinhala name. According to Prof. S.P. Samarakoon, (Ruhuna University), the name Salake is in the List of Vernacular names given in the Journal of Sri Lanka Forester.
    Preparations from this plant are used to relieve arthritic joint-pain and other inflammation related ailments. The bark is used to make a sweet tea, claimed to help in allergies (Asthma), sore throat etc. It produces a gum-resin (frankincense) similar to the "Dummmala" used as an incense in Sri Lanka. Clough gives the name Gugul for such gum-resins, in the context of Amyrus agallocha.   See Images, write up and the use of Boswellia Serrata in Indian Medicine
    Boswellia Sacra, thurifera (Frankincense tree, incense tree )
    Image and write up
    Sallaki (this name is given in B. Clough's 19th-century Sinhala dictionary, p671)
    Kundarika muruntapali 1 This tree also produces 'frankincense', used in incense and perfumes. There are four
    Bougainvillaea spectabilis Katurolu - kirusnakeli,kiruttinakeli -
    -Brachiaria mutica Diya Tana - - - -
    -Brachystelma lankana (Asclepiadaceae) Pathan ala - - Critically endanagered, but was known to exist in the Knuckles region, and listed in Dassanayake and Fosberg.
    It is a small herb simple stem or with a few branches. Consisting one tuber underground, with small leaves tapering at both ends and laceolate in shape, small flowers. Sunday Observer images and write up
    Brassica alba (Ceylon Spinach), see Basella Alba - -Nivithi - - Excellent source of iron. This is a very valuable leafy vegetable.
    Nivithigala (sabaragamuva province), Nivitigama (North-cental)
    Brassica campestris rapa sarshapa- siddhartha karuppukkadugu -
    Brassica juncea (indian mustard)
    Brassicaceae family ( old family name: Cruciferae)
    Aba, kaluaba, gang-aba ගං අබ - katuku used in "Achcharu" (pickel), in medicine, poultices etc.
    Brassica Oleraceia (Kohlrabi)
    Image and write up
    Raabu, Rabu, රාබු - Kolrapi, கோல்ராபி Eaten cooked, curried, salads, sambahr etc. It is also used in "Achcharu" (pickel), in medicine, poultices etc. It is a vegetable introduced to Sri lanka. Traditionaally said to be good for gout and arthritis.
    Bridelia retusa (kino tree) Kaetakaela, Katakela ekavira- asana adamarudu, mulvengai -A small Tree with a smooth, pale yellowish-grey bark and rusty; leaves simple, alternate, numerous.
    Bark has anti-fungal activity.
    Brugmansia suaveolens
    (no longer classified as a Datura)
    Aththana - - see also Datura fastuosa
    Bruguiera cylindrica, B. sexangula (Mangrove) Mal Kadol - - -
    Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (Mangrove) Mal Kadol - - -
    Buchnera asiaticaSynonym of Striga asiatica (L.)
    Family: Scrophulariaceae
    Sudu Dadinnaru; also, B. Euphrasioides is `Dadinnaru; - milagaranai -
    Buchanania latifolia, Buchanania lanzan (chirauli-nut, Cuddapah almond)
    Family: Anacardiaceae
    Piyaa gaha - Modamaram?- A medium-sized nearly evergreen tree reaching 13-18 m in height. with a straight trunk and young branches clothed with silky hairs; leaves simple, alternate entire, thickly coriaceous, ~12.5 cm long, ~6.2 cm broad, broadly oblong Fruit a drupe, ovoid-reniform, size of a small cherry, purplish-black. USES Seeds used as a sweetmeat, rich in oil. Tha bark contain tannin and the gum have medicinal properties, Mentioned by B. Clough, 1890
    Butea frondosa Pulas, Palas Parasan palacu, palasu, Murukku Parasanweva, Pulasweva (Parasangkulam)
    Butea monosperma Gas kela, Galkaela - - palacu -

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Caesalpinia bonduc (gray Nickarbean, Fever nut) Kumburu, Kumburu vael - Latakaranjah- Putrakaranjah kalarci, kazhar-shikkay - A stout climbing shrub with finely grey pubescent stems and straight small prickles; leaves alternate, very large, compound, main branchis ~12.5 cm long, cylindrical, finely woolly-pubescent.-
    Caesalpinia crista - Diya-vavlaetiya, (Wavlatiya)- - - See also goda-vavlaetiya
    Caesalpinia echinata (Brezel wood) Diya-vavlaetiya, (Wavlatiya)- - - See also goda-vavlaetiya
    Caesalpinia enneaphyllum, Mezoneurum enneaphyllum - Goda-vavlaetiya, (Goda Wavlatiya)- - - Clough, 1892, p168 and Annales botanices systematicae, Volume 4 By Wilhelm Gerhard Walpers, p591
    Caesalpinia longana (peacock flower) Monara Pila - - See images of varieties of "Peacock flower -caesalpina varieties
    Caesalpinia major - Kalu Wavlatiya, Kalu Vavlaetiya - - kazarci kalichikai An extensive climber with finely grey, downy branches armed with hooked and straight, hard, yellow prickles; leaves large, abruptly pinnate, 30-60 cm long, petiols prickly-
    Caesalpinia sappan (Sapanwood, Indian redwood )
    Family: Fabaceae
    Patangi - This sinhala name is derived from its sanskrit/prakrit forms.
    Write up and images
    Patranga- Pathimukham- A medium-sized tree 6' high with a prickly stem ~15cm diam-
    The heartwood is used to make a valuable reddish dye called brazilin, used for dyeing fabric as well as making red paints and inks. The wood takes a high finish and is resistant to termites. It is used for inlaying work, cabinet making, violin bows and for walking sticks.
    Cadaba indica (indian cadaba)
    Picture and write up   shrub with simple oblong leaves and greenish flowers.
    Ira vara, Irawara, wara, Ira Varaa - manatukkurntu, Uses in local medicine: Stimulant, antiscorbutic and aperient. Decoction of leaves of C. Indica is used as anthelmintic in round worms. The juice of C. Trifoliata is given in dyspepsia in children. Leaves are used as purgative, emmenagogue and antiph- logistic, combined with myrobalans and ginger, or with senna and Epsom salt. In amenorrhaea and dysmenorrhoea a decoction of the leaves, combined with castor- oil and turmeric, is found useful. It is also given in syphilis, scrofula and rheumatism. Externally the leaves are used as varalians with the leaves of odina wodier to relieve rheumatic pains, and as a poultice to boils to promote suppu- ration. The leaves are used by local people in preparing medicated oils. - (source: Materia-medica of india)
    Cajanus cajan (Pigeon Pea, Pea Dhal, Tur-dhal) thora-parippu adhaki tuvarai syn. Cajanus indicus
    Pigeon peas are a very important part of food. Sometimes Thora is used specifically for the yellow peas, while parippu is specifically used for Dhal, i.e., mansoor dhal. However, the Dhal is grown in Saskatchewan. Canada, exported to India for dehulling etc., and Sri lanka imports it from India !
    It is a part of Colombo's Baila culture with criket and Rugby songs like: Thora parippu, thora parippu, go Royal go, ...
    Preparing Sri-lankan Dhal Curry
    The epithet "Parippuva" is also used as a mild insult, to refer to a person of low means, reduced to eating Dhal curry and rice.
    Many Pea varieties have been introduced by agriculturalists. The variety "Prasada" is recommended in Sr Lanka. Farm machinary for dehulling etc., have been developed in Sri lanka, and some have been exported to Africa.
    Dhal processing, Dept. of Agriculture, Sri lanka
    Calamus species cane, rattan
    • Calamus delicatulus
    • Calamus digitatus
    • Calamus ovoideus
    • Calamus pachystemonus
    • Calamus pseudotenuis
    • Calamus rivalis
    • Calamus rotang (Calamus roxburghii)
    • Calamus zeylanicus

    • Narawel, Nawa-wel, naravael
    • Kukula wel
    • Sudu vevael, Thambotu vael
    • Kukuluwel,
      Kukul vael
    • Heen wewel, heen vevael
    • Kaha wevael
    • Wevwel, Wewael
    • Mavevael, Wanduru-vael
    Many are in the thratened species IUCN red list.
    vetra- vetasa perambu, vaniram rattan or cane is used extensively in basket weaving, furtnture and other applications. Image, Calamus rotang
    Calendula arvensis (Marigold) Daas-pethi, Daas mal sthulapushpa Sendigai Poo- A popular garden flower and a member of the daisy family. A common component of garlands in Sri lanka, India and other South Asian countries.
    Images and write up
    Farmed as a cash crop in India for extracting oleoresin, used in the nutraceutical industry. Marigold brings cheers to farmers of Thanjavur
    It is claimed that
    "The four months old crop comes for first harvest in two months itself and from then onwards four to five harvests could be done. The production would be six to eight tonnes per acre of land. While the cultivation cost was only Rs.5000 to Rs.6000 per acre (Indian rupees, in 2006), a farmer could get Rs.10,000 to Rs.12,000 per acre as profit. Besides medicinal value, the crop kills nematodes in land when cultivated. The suitable time for cultivation of this flower is November to March."
    The plant is not commercially exploited in Sri lanka.
    Callicarpa tomentosa Eela Gaha, Illa Malgaha - kattukkumil, vettilaipattai -
      (Alexandrian laurel family)
    • Calophyllum bracteaum
    • C. cuniform
    • C. Calaba
    • C. Cordato-oblongum (Thw)
    • C. mooni (Wright)
    • C. Thwaitesii
    • C. Tormentosum
    • C walkeri
    • C. zeylanicau (Thw)
    • Keena, Kina
    • Kina, Keena
    • Gulukeena, heenkeena
    • Kalu keena
    • Domba keena
    • batu Keena
    • Tel Keena
    • Keena

    Naga Champa- Punnai is C. Inophyllum listed in Sinhala as "Domba". See next entry. Calophyllum bracteatum is a species of flowering plant in the Calophyllaceae family. It is found in Sri Lanka, papua new Guinia All are threatened IUNC red listed species. Image and description
    Varieties of keena are identified in some detail in Sinhala presumably because of its importance as a timber, esp. for sea-faring applications ?
    Calophyllum inophyllum (Alexandrian Laurel)

    There are some 200 species of Calophyllum, a medium sized timber tree.
    Calophyllum cordato-oblongum and Calophyllum cuneifolium are species of the Calophyllaceae family found only in Sri Lanka (2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species).

    "Tel Domba", "Batadoma" and "Pithi Domba" are variates, whose exact botanical names are yet to be listed.

    "Batadombalena", or "Batadomba-lena" is the place name of a rockshelter in the rainforest of southwestern Sri Lanka. It has yielded some of the earliest evidence of Homo sapiens in South Asia. Early human foragers were present at Batadomba-lena from ca. 36,000 cal BP to the terminal Pleistocene and Holocene. See Dorian Fuller et al
    punnaga, Naga-champa

    The Sanskrit name "Pun-naga" is sometimes claimed to have a "dravidian" etymology. In reality, it means "small" naaga tree, where "Pun" is cognate with the English "Puny" [French puî né :younger (sibling)"),Latin Postia, i.e., secondary], or small ("podi" in Sinhala). In Sanskrit "puna" means a "repeat form", in this case, of the Ironwood tree. Hence "Pun-naaga" is meant to indicate a secondary type of Ironwood ("naa tree in Sinhala). However, botanically Ironwod and Domba are not related. In any case, the Sanskrit name "Punnaga" is a true Sanskrit/Prakrit word, and the Tamil name (first seen in the Cankam period literature) comes many centuries after the occurance of words like "puna" and "Naga" in Prakrit. Hence the Dravidian languages may have acquired it from older Indic languages.
    It is noteworth that the Sinhala name "Domba" is derived from the "Champa" form of the nme, and not the punnaaga form.
    punnai, pinnai, nagam

    The name "Punnai" in Tamil and its cognates found in other Dravidian languages such as Punna (Malayalam), Ponne, Honne (Kannada), Ponne (Tulu), and Ponna (Telugu) are sometimes regarded as words of Dravidian etymology. However, the word has no clear meaning in Tamil (while "Ponna", etc., could mean gold), although it has a clear meaning in Sanskrit/Prakrit. Hence the name may have come into the Dravidian languages via Prakrit to Tamil Prakrit, with the first recording in the Cankam period, that is, much later than the Sanskrit forms.
    Place names:
    Dombape (Punanai) Dombatuva (Punanaitupe) Dombape (Punnalai) Dombakaduva (Punnalakadduvan) Bata-Domba-lena

    The sinhala name "Domba" is most probabaly a distortion of the Sanskrit "Champa" which is possibly used in Pali as well.

    According to the "lanka chronicle" write up:
    "The fruit has a hard shell and the kernel yields an oil which is used as a medicine for rheumatic pains and is also one of the five kinds of oil known as Pas-tel . In some parts of India the oil has a reputation as a cure for Scabies. The bark of the tree is used as an antiseptic; internally, preparations of the bark are used in cough.". The Domba latex is said to contain an anti-HIV agent (a coumarine).

    [see report by Sino, Dodier and Sotheesvaran, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, vol 8, 3475 (1988)]
    Hanna, L. "Calanolide A: A Natural Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor." Bulletin of Experimental Treatments for AIDS. April 1999.
    Sarawak MediChem Pharmaceuticals, Inc. PRNewswire. February 5, 1998; September 30, 1998.
    Wilson, E.O. The Future of Life. Alfred A. Knopf. New York: 2002
    See entry under Calophyllum Lanigerum.
    "Calophyllum antillanum" is a "Domba" species valued for its timber.
    known (a Costatolide, or Calanolide B) Images and write up
    Calophyllum Lanigerum - "Domba" species - - The plant is in the same family as "Domba" of Sri lanka, has strong similarities to "Domba", but it is not the same as the Domba plant which is Calophyllum inophyllum. This plant has leaves which are longer and more spear-shaped than "Domba". We have tentatively called it "Pithi Domba" The plant extract is claimed to contain an anti-HIV agent, calanolide A. Image, Calophyllum Lanigerum
    Calophyllum tomentosum Keena, Tel-Keena - Bitangor(am) (indian name) - "Domba family" timber. Native to Sri lanka, and red-listed as threatened. xanthenes and tri-terpenes have been extracted from this trea components by Peradeniya University Researchers, some of them being our academic collegues.: Subadra Karunanayake, Subramanian Sotheeswaran, M. Uvais, S. Sultanbawaa and Sinnathamby Balasubramaniam
    Phytochemistry Volume 20, Issue 6, 1981, Pages 1303-1304 -
    Calotropis gigantea (crown flower, giant milkweed) Wara, Vara, varaa

    see also: Asclepias varieties
    Sooryapathra, arka erukku, erukkam Some varieties attract Monarch butterflies. The name "Elawara" or "Ganarupa" is also used.
    Used in Homeopathy. Photos
    Calotropis procera Vaeli Wara? - vellai erukku -
    Camellia sinensis, China tea
    Images and short write up
    Family: Theaceae (Tea family)
    It was known in China from ancient times.
    The (as in Thébes),  තේ The gaha, The Kola
    Tea was introduced into Sri Lanka in the 19th century when the previous cash crop, Coffee, suffered disease. James Taylor, a Scottish planter who arrived in Sri Lanka in 1852 developed `St Clair', Talawakele as a tea plantation, and the first shipment to London auctions was in 1875. A monument to him by sculptor Sarath Chandrajeewa stands their today.
    `Ceylon Tea' soon became the major export of the country, and the best tea comes from the highest elevations in the hill country. Nuwara Eliya tea, close to Talawakele where the Tea Research Institute (TRI) is located, is a very high-quality tea. Low grown teas are less falvourful but richer in body (mostly due to tanins). The commercial teas are a blend of high-grown and low-grown teas.

    There are six main varieties of tea; white, yellow, green, oolong (half-fermented variety), black (fully fermented), and post-fermented (Pu-erh) tea, yellow and Pu-erh are not usually available in the market.80% of the tea consumption is black, though in China and Japan the most popular is green tea. Iced tea is the most popular tea in the US; it is consumed in large amounts but is very unhealthy healthy as it is full of sugar!
    The Japanese `tea ceremony' is a highly important iconic Japanese cultural practice. Here green-tea powder is used in a ritualistic way.
    thayilai, Tey
    After picking, tea leaves begin to oxidize and darken due to the breakdown of chlorophyll, the green pigment, by enzymes in the cells which releases tannins. This process called fermentation can be stopped by heating and resultant wilting. The method of preparation affects flavor as well as the nutritional content. Black tea is made from leaves that are wilted and fully oxidized, oolong is wilted and only partly oxidized, green is wilted but not oxidized while white tea is neither wilted nor oxidized, made from very tender buds before they acquire chlorophyll. Tea plant has a high sensitivity to and absorption of environmental pollutants like fluoride and aluminium, old leaves containing high levels of both. Though the danger from aluminium is only theoretical, it is advisable for people living in high fluoride areas to moderate tea consumption but in low fluoride areas this may be an advantage, preventing tooth decay.
    Tea has many health benefits.
    The powerful antioxidant property of tea is likely to help in many ways:
    Drinking three or four cups of tea daily has been shown to reduce the chance of having a heart attack. (Tea also reduces the level of cholesterol and fat in blood though in small amounts). A Japanese study has shown that those who drank more than five cups of green tea daily had a 26% reduction in death from a heart attack or a stroke compared to those who drank one cup or less. The effect was more pronounced in women.
    A review in 2009 of 51 green tea studies showed drinking three to five cups a day lowered the risk of ovarian, colorectal, lung and prostate cancers.
    Drinking one to four cups of black or green tea has been linked with a lower risk of Parkinson's disease, according to the National Institute of Health of USA.
    There is data to show that tea reduces lung damage in smokers and prevent lung cancer but it is better not depend on tea to do the prevention but give up the killer fag!
    Canarium zeylanicum, Aleurites triloba (candle nut tree)

    The nuts of this tree have been used by ancient indegenous people who inhabited Sri Lanka. Thus, excavations in Bata-domba-lena, a rock shelter used by early Homo Sapiens, have yielded Canarium nut residues. See Dorian Fuller et al
    Kekuna, Kaekuna, kakuna - Pakkilipal- The name is recorded in Clough, 1892, p 139.
    There is a sinhala saying: "Val oouro kaekuna thalana vita haban kukulanta magul"
    A very large tree, with a pale, smooth, thin bark, buttressed roots and densely fulvous pubescent young shoots. leaves pinnate compound, alternate, Leaflets 3 pairs and a terminal. The relationship of this tree to Canarium species in Madagascar, Andaman Ils and Mauritius has been discussed. See Canarium Madagascariense No images of C. zeylanicum are currently available. For images of related species see Images
    This is an increasingly rare tree, and produces a gum-resin similar to "Dummala". see Dummala, traditional resin
    The place names based on "Kaekuna" are, as far as we know, found only in the North-western province and southern province.
    Those in the North-Western province are:  Kekunagahakotuwa, Kekunagolla, Kekunawala, Kekunewa
    Those in the Southern province are:  Kekanadura, Kekunawela, Kekunawila
    However, the tree has been recorded in other areas including the Matale district.
    Canavalia obtusifolia Mooduvara - - -
    Canna indica (canna lilly, Indian shot) Buth Sarana, "caennas" - kalvalai -
    Canna indica (Indian shot) "Cannas" - puvalai Introduced to SL by horticulturists. Seeds used as beads in "natural-seed jewelry" comes from a beautiful wildflower native to the Caribbean region and tropical America.
    Cannabis sativa (Marijuana)

    Psychedelic drug which became well known after the "hippie" movement of the 1960s; this is described as "Triloka Vijayam" in Sanskrit texts. Ganja is included in some traditional herbal prescriptions. The active ingredient is Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

    Ganja, Kansa ganjika- bhanga kanja, kanca The US La Guardia report in the 1970s was the first to propose decriminalization of the personal use of Cannabis. The first discussion of this in Sri Lanka was sponsored by the Institute of Chemistry, in 1973 with Dr. Ramakrishna (chair), Dr. Kottagoda (Pharamacology), Dr. Para(?) Chandrasoma (Psychiatry), Dr. Chandre Dharmawardana (Chemistry), and the Government Analyst (Mr. Nithkunanathan) as panelists. Dr. Kottagoda and Dr.Chandrasoma took a strongly anti Cannabis point of view, while Dr. Dharmawardana argued that tobacco is a far greater public menace ignored by the authorities who put in much effort trying to control Cannabis, while profiting from tobacco sales. A "vedamahaththaya" (sinhala herbal doctor) who was in the audience strongly pitched for its decriminalization for medical use in "sinhala vedakama" (sihala herbal medicine). Two Cannabis plants (resembling "daas mal gas") were provided by the police (with the help of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the then member of Parliament for Hambantota) for demonstration purposes. Raid on a Cannabis Plantation Image of plant
    Capparis horida, Capparis moonii,Capparia moonii, Capparia zeylanica Wellangiriya, Vellangiriya - turatti A climbing shrub with long, divaricate branches, leaves simple, alternate, oval-lanceolate or oblong, 4. 2- 5 cm long. -
    Capparis zeylanica (Ceylon capper) Welangiriya Vyaghranakhi, kinkani, tapasapriya adondai atontai Large shrub, 2-5 m high, showy flowers. Image and description -
    Capsicum annuum Malumiris katuvira- pittakarini milakai This a large "bell-pepper" used in Sri lankan cooking mainly as a stuffed-pper preparation, sometimes battered as in a "Bae
    Capsicum chinense (Birds-eye chili, Thai chili) Kochchi miris, cochchi miris - kanthari mulagu (malayalam), milagai- This is a very hot, small chili found in Sri lanka, and attributed to a Malabar-Cochin origin. The botanical name "Capsicum frutescenes" has also been previously ascribed to it., and it was simply regarded as a variate. See below., under Miris. The Capsium chinense however has a very different shape and other taxonomic characteristics, and the issue of classification is not completely clear.

    A very hot pepper has been created as a hybrid of several hot peppers, viz., Naga Chili"-hottest chili?
    Capsicum frutescenes (chili pepper, Thai pepper, Thai chili) Miris, Kochchi miris

    Miris is an essential part of Sri Lankan cooking, and the main ingredient of "Lunimiris". It is also used in preparations and sprays for riot control.
    The "hotness" of a chili sample can be measured using the so-called "scovil test" which scans the presence of astringent chemicals like capsaicin. "Cochchi miris", similar to Tabasco peppers, is a hot, small sized version of the normal "miris" which is slender, elongated and mostly used in "Chili Powder".
    - milagai Miriswatte, Mirisa-vaetiya, Mirrissa are known place names. Mirisa Vaetiya is an important Anuradhapura Shrine mentioned in the Mahavamsa.

    Miris extracts are found to be protective against stomach ulcers (based on experiments on rats, with ulcers induced by aspirin.) The following report is found on the Internet (we do not endorse everything said in it):
    The dried fruit is a powerful local stimulant with no narcotic effect, it is most useful in atoning the intestines and stomach[4]. It has proved efficacious in dilating blood vessels and thus relieving chronic congestion of people addicted to drink[4]. ..(sic)...The fruit is also antihaemorrhoidal, antirheumatic, antiseptic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, sialagogue and stomachic[7, 165, 171]. These pungent fruited peppers are important in the tropics as food preservatives[238]. The fruits contain 0.1 - 1.5% capsaicin[254]. This substance stimulates the circulation and alters temperature regulation. Applied to the skin it desensitizes nerve endings and so has been used as a local anaesthetic[254]. The seed contains capsicidins[254]. These are thought to have antibiotic properties[254] click for full report
    Carallia Brachiata, Carallia integerrima (Fresh water mangrove) Davata, Dawata - Andimiriam Images and write up
    This is a somewhat salt-tolerant trea. Place names like: Dawatagahamulatenna (Central province), dawatagolla, and Davatagama (Uva Province) are found in Sri lanka.
    This is a timber tree with beautiful foliage. The bark has been valued as an anti-inflammatory, in wound healing etc. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences vol 71, no. 5, 576--577 (2009) -
    Carallia calycina Ubberiya - - It is a threatened (red listed) species of plant in the Rhizophoraceae family. The wood is used for furniture, floor paneling etc. It has two varieties in Sri Lanka. One of them is found in the Sinha-Raja forest. The second variety is in the higher elevations, above 1000 meters.
    It is a tall Mid-canopy tree up to 39 m tall and 1 m girth. Stipules ca. 18 mm long, dropped early. Leaves opposite, simple, penni-veined, glabrous, leaf margin toothed. Flowers ca. 4 mm diameter, white-yellowish, placed solitary or in branched inflorescences. Fruits ~4 mm diameter, yellow-red, drupes
    Carallia integerrima (Dawata), is a related, beautiful tree.
    Caram Carvi(Caraway, Persian cumin)
    Family: Apiaceae
    Images and write up
    No well established sinhala name for Caraway, although Wal duru ?, Maa duru have been mentioned. It is not generally known to Sri lankan spice users. Karavi - Often confused with fennel (maa duru) and so it is also called Maa duru This plant prefers dry higher altitude areas.
    Careya arborea (Wild Guvava, Ceylon Oak) kahata Bhadrendrani, Khumbi- Puta-tanni-maram, Aima, Karekku- "Kahata-gaha-handiya", and such place names are found in Sri lanka. Kahata-gas-yaya is a place name near Galoya national park (Eastern Pr.).
    Kahatagahamaditta, Kahatamaditta, Kahatamba, Kahatapitiya, Kahataruppa, Kahatamba, Kahatawela are all in the UVa province.
    There is a Kahatapitiya in the Sabaragamuwa Pr.
    Kahatana, Kahatowita, kahatapitiya, and Kahataduwa are found in the western province.
    Kahatadanda, Kahatagaha aswaedduma, Kahatagas thaenna, kahatapitiya, are found in the central Pr.
    Kahatagahadigiliyya, Khatagahaweva, Kahatagollewa, are in the North-central Pr.

    The bark is used in indigenous medications. Images and write up
    Cardiospermum halicacabum, C microcarpum Wel Penela, Vael Penela jyotismati- indravalli kottavan, mutakkarran Medical uses as a tisane-
    Careya arborea Kahata - - kumbi -
    Carica papaya (Papaya, Papaw)

    The Papaya Leaf contains the fermenting agent myrosin, alkaloids, rutin, resin, tannins, carpaine, dehydrocarpaines, pseudocarpaine, flavonols, benzylglucosinolate, linalool, malic Acid
    see details, methyl salicylate, another enzyme, chymopapain (latex and exudate), calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, Zinc beta-carotene, B-vitamins and vitamins A, C and E. However, the papaya seeds have not yet been adequately researched.
    Paepol, Gaslabu erandakarkati- madhukarkati pappayi, pappali This tree has male and female plants, and may grow to 6-8 meters in tropical well watered slightly acidic soils. Its leaf and milky latex contains Papain, an enzyme which breaks down meat. Hence papaya leaves are used to tenderize meat. Using papaya leaf in salads is said to help heart-burn, and indigestion, against worms, herpes, prostrate inflammation.
    It is included in commercial preparations as a meat tenderizer and often used for that purpose in restaurants, and it also used commercially in chewing gums and as a stabilizing agent that is used to clarify beer. Papaya Leaves were even fed to animals to tenderize their flesh.
    Papaya juice has been used in the Philippines for various types of viral fever including Dengu. The juice from crushed Payaya-leaf has been claimed to normalizes blood platelet in Dengue patients in Sri Lanka.   see also for other claimed herbal cures for Dengu fever.

    It has also been claimed as an anti-cancer agent. Sunday Observer 25-July2010 report of clinical trial with controls
    Carissa carandas

    Images and write up   "The Heen karamba ( Carissa spinarum ) is a shrub found typically in undergrowth in secondary forest in the dry zone and is a plant with multiple uses. It has jasmine like white flowers, edible fruits, and the oil extracted from the leaves is used for wounds and for relieving skin irritations such as itchiness. A fence made from the branches of this shrub are said to be a deterrent even to an elephant."
    Karanda, Maha Karamba karamardaka- kila, kala A small tree or a large shrub, with numerous, divaricate branches and vcry sharp horizontal spines, often branched.
    Carissa spinarum (Conksberry or Bush plum) Karamba,Heen karamba karamarda chirukila, sirukila toponyms
    Karambavila (Siruvilan) Karambapona (Karampon) Karambapitiya (Siruppiddy)
      Heen karamaba write up, national herbarium, The herberium website was established in 2004
    Carmona microphylla - Heen Tambala - - - A shrub, l-1.3 rn tall with numerous, slender, divaricate branches with a reddish >brown - cracked bark leaves simple, small. ~0.7 cm long, ~0.6 cm broad.-
    Carum Ajowan Assamodagam- - Amam -
    carya glabra pignut hickory Not well known in Sri Lanka - The related Pecan (Carya illinoinensis or illinoensis = Pecan) is known in Tamil as Pekkan valuable timber
    Caryota urens Kithul, Kitul, කිතුල්

    The Kithul tree is celbrated for the syrup (Kithul Paeni, කිතුල් ;පැනි) or "treacle" produced from its sugary sap. Kithul Paeni is the preferred accompaniment of of the dessert of the Sinhala South - Buffalo curd and Kithul Paeni. The jaggery (Kithul Hakuru) made from Kithul paeni is preferred over that from the coconut palm (Pol Hakuru). A flour made from the pith of the tree is also well known, esp. in the Kandyan area, where a pan cake ("roti", ;රොටි), a gruel ("thalapa", තලප ) containing Kitul flour, and coconut, are consumed. A sweet gruel is also made. A "vatalappam-like" sweet is also made with Kitul piti (kitul flour), jaggery etc. The fiber is used to make a very strong rope. The timber is used as rafters etc.
    mada- sritalah kuntarpanai, talippanai Kithulgala is the location for the classic movie "Bridge over River Kwai".

    Alexander von Humbolt wrote ("Travels in the equinoctial regions of America) in 1853 that:   "The nutritious fecula or medullary flour of the sago trees (Sagus Rumphii) is found principally in a group of palms which M. Knuth has distinguished by the name of Calameae. It is collected, however, in the Indian Archipelago, as an article of trade, from the trunks of the Cycas revoluta, the Phoenix farinifera, the Coryphen umbruculifera, and the Caryota urens (Ainslie, Materia medica of Hindustan, Madras, 1813 )".
    Kitul Industry in Sri Lanka   The gycymic index of Kithul food-preparations has been studied at Sri-jp university, Sri Lanka. Glycimic index
    It is a tall unarmed palm, trunk ~13m tall and ~0.3m diam., cylindrical, annulate, not soboliferous, flowering when full grown from axils of leaves beginning with the upper and thence successively downward, a male and female spadix alternating and then dying.-
    Casearia zeylanica - Wal Waraka, Val varaka - - - -
    Cassia alata, also Cassia didymobotrya
    Cassia genus
    Eth Thora, Aeth thora - - "Aeth thora" means "elephant lentil" in sinhala. The plant is a large shrub with very thick, finely downy branches; leaves large, sub-sessile, 30cm long, pinnate, leaflets 8-pairs, each 5 cm long.-
    Cassia amara Sinkona - - See how ever, Cinchona officinalis
    Cassia angustifolia, see Cassia senna Senehe Kola - - A small shrub with stems 0.6 m high, erect, smooth pale green somewhat zigzag with long spreading branches.-
    Cassia auriculata, Senna auriculata (Tanner's cassia) Ranavara, Ranawara avartaki- avarai, avaram A large, much branched shrub with smooth cinnamon brown bark and closely pubescent branchlets. Inportant in Ayurveda. Used as a herbal tea of medicinal value, mainly for urinary problems. Images and write up
    Cassia fistula (Indian laburnum, golden shower tree)
    Fabaceae family.
    Image and write up
    Aehaela, Ehela ඇහැල Aragvadha-
    meaning "disease killer", and it is used as a laxative, and in a variety of ayurvedic preparations for so-called "bllod conditions".
    konrai, konnai, Mullaimaram Placename Ehelapola was the village of a rebellious Adigar (Chieften) of the Last king of Kandy who gradually became a cruel tyrant.
    A small or moderate-sized tree with slender branches and pale grey bark when young, brown and rough when old; leaves alternate, stipulate, abruptly pinnate compound, large. Showy golden clusters of flowers.

    The wood of Aehala is used to make temple drums, and Aehaela trees and flowers are an integral part of Sri Lankan Buddhist culture, and Indian culture.
    Cassia kleinii Bim Siyambala, Bin Siyambala - - -
    Cassia obvata (neutral henna) Seneha cola? Hemapushpi- - In Ayurved, used to cure skin allergies, leprosy, fever, reducing phlegm and as a digestive aid. Used in removing black spots on skin. It is an anti-dandruff shampooing, or to make the hair shine. See also cassia angustifolia
    Cassia occidentalis Pani Thora - - peyavirai,ponnavirai A coarse annual, 30-90 cm high, stem slightly branched. nearly glabrous, furrowed, purplish.-
    Cassia roxburghii (ceylon senna, Red cassia)
    Fabaceae/Leguminosae (bean Family)
    Cassia genus
    Wa, Waa, Ratu wa, rathu waa, Vaa - Vakai Images and write up The seeds have been evaluated for its medicinal value as a "liver tonic" against hepatitis.
    Cassia senna, see Cassia angustifolia Seneha kola - nilavirai, Nilavagai, nilavakai ? In Ayurveda, used to cure skin allergies, leprosy, fever, reducing phlegm and as a digestive aid. Used in removing black spots on skin. It is an anti-dandruff shampooing, or to make the hair shine.
    Cassia siamea ( Kassod Tree ) Wa - mancatkonrai - Image
    Cassia sophera Uru Thōra, Ooru thōra - ponnavirai- "ooru thora" means, in sinhala "pig dhal".
    Cassia spectabilis, Synonyms: Senna spectabilis, Cassia amazonica, Cassia carnaval, Cassia edulis, Cassia excelsa (Spectacular Cassia) Aehala, Kahakona This has been claimed to be an invasive plant - - See under Vassia fistula
    Cassia surattensis (sunshine tree) Wal Ehela, Val Aehala - - Images of cassia - -
    Cassia tora Peti Thora, Pethi-thora - thagarai- "Pethi" in sinhala means "slice-like" and "thōra is a generic name for "lentil" or "dahl"
    Cassine balae Kabella, Kaebella - - see Aporosa lindleyana
    Catharanthus roseus (Periwinkle) Mini Mal, Paspethi (?) Sadaphuli Nithya Kalyani- This plant has "Paspethi"-like flower (white or pink) and probabaly originated in south-Asian/Austranesian islands like Madagascar, and possibly to Sri Lanka. The flower is said to be used in "Pideni" of low-country Sri lankan exorcisms, as well as in some native treatments. In Ayurveda the leaves,the seeds, the flowers and the roots are used for treatment of leukemia, diabetes, menorrhagia. Its use as an anti-cancer tea in Jamica prompted a pharmaceutical investigation which led to the formulation of Vinblastine (sold as Velban) and Vincristine, both anti-cancer drugs, now produced synthetically. There are many varieties of Periwinkle, e.g., tiny Periwinkle, Catharanthus pusillus
    Images and write up on Periwinkle
    Catunaregum spinosa Kukurumanna, Kukurumaana - madukarei, pungarei -
    Cayratia pedata Garandi- Dul-Vael, Madiya Wael pedata tiripatakam, kattuperandai, kitamatti -
    Ceiba pentandra
    Kapok tree, Silk-cotton tree
    Imbul, himbul, Kotta
    Image and write up Katu-Imbul Imbul trees are mentioned in the Mahawamsa, in regard to the story of `Gotaimbara', one of the warriors of King Dutu-Gamunu who is claimed to have uprooted imbul trees effortlessly.
    - ilavu See also Bombax Ceiba;
    Produces a cotton-like fiber in its pods. The tree is called "white cotton" in English. Also,"Kapok". A tall tree with a smooth, greenish-white, glabrous bark and horizontal primary branches in whorls of three ; leaves alternate, digitate or palmate, closely placed on long petioles leaflets 5 or 7 on short winged stalks.-
    Celastrus paniculatus, Celastrus paniculatus (oriental staff vine)
    IUCN red listed species.
    Duhudu- Jayothismati- vaaluluvai A cold-pressed herbal oil and "choorna" are made from the seeds. Supposed to enhance memory. The plant has been recently found in the Mahiyangana area. Daily News report   There is some scientific evidence in support of these claims:   Godkar et al: Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 93, Issues 2-3, August 2004, Pages 213-219
    Celtis cinnamomea Gurenda - - -
    Celosia argentea (Cock's comb species) Kiri-haenda, kirihenda - pannai keerai, makili-k-kirai garden herb, ornamental, showy flowers
    Celosia cristata (Cock's comb) Kukul karamal - pannai keerai Edible, ornamental.
    Celtis timorensis (Nettle tree, sugarberry, hackberry) Brunda ?Burunda? - - C. timonensis is endemic to Sri lanka. No image of this plant is available. Images of other Celtis species
    Centella asiatica, Hydrocotyle asiatica (indian Pennywort) Gotukola, gotukola mandukaparni, Brahmi- parni, vallarai, The name Trisanthus cochinchinensis is also sometimes used. There are several variates ogf gotukola, as seen in life size etc; This is recognized even in local names, like "heen gotukola" etc. In south India, a variety known as "Kaattu Vallarai" is known. The sanskrit name "mandukaparni" and the Sinhala name are close, while the name "Brahmi" has also been incorrectly used for Bacopa monnier, which is 'Luniwila', a very different herb which grows in marshes.
    Green herb, eaten as fresh slad, cooked salad (Maellung), and in broth (Kola Kaenda) in Sri Lanka, where it is also a valued herbal medicine - general tonic. Ayurvedic preparations are available as oil, tablet, herbal tea etc. Recipe for Gotukola Sambolaya
    Leaves contain an oleaginous substance, vellarin, having a strong odor recalling that of the plant, and a bitter, pungent, and persistent taste. (J. Phm. Chem; 1885, 49.)
    Centipeda minima Visa Dooli - - A small, annual herb with numerous, prostrate, slender, branching stems ~5cm long, spreading from the centre; leaves simple, alternate, subsessile.-
    Centranthera indica, Centratherum indica Dutu Saputa Undir Karni kovai ?- Image and write up
    Cerbera manghas, Cerbera odoloam Kaduru, Gon-Kaduru auddalakah- - These are somewhat salt-tolerant trees. N.B., Goda-kaduru is "Strychnos nux-vomica"
    Ceriops tagal (mangrove like) Rathu Kadol - Chirukandal -
    Ceropgia candelabrum Wel Mota, Vael Mota - - -
    Cestrum nocturnum (Night blooming Jasmine, Queen of the night.)
    Solanaceae (potato family)
    Re manamali, Rae manamali, Rae-manamali රՆ මනමාලි Rathri-rani ? - The sinhala name "Rae manamali" means, "bride of the night". The english name Night-flowering jasmine is used for Sepalika, i.e., Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, which is another night-blooming flower common in Buddhist-temple gardens. Rae manamali is a sprawling shrub with vine-like stems. It blooms in cycles in warm weather, producing a fragrant scent in the evening. Some individuals may be allergic to the perfume. Image and write up
    The flower has been used in aromatherapy and traditional medicine. Jasmine essential oils are used to treat post-menstrual stress, uterine cramps. inflamed skin, sore throats and mouth ulcers. Its aroma calms emotions, restores confidence and may serve as an aphrodisiac.
    Chlorophytum borivilianum
    Family: Asparagaceae (or sometimes given as Liliaceae (Lily family)
    Images and write up
    ? Safed Musli is used in Hindi ? It is a leaf vegetable in some parts of India, and its roots are used as an "aphrodisiac tonic" under the name safed musli in India. -
    Chloroxylon swietenia Handun bhillotaka- varimarai -
    Chloroxylon swietenia Sandun Chandana vaimari Chandana (Chankanai)
    Sinhala saying "Handun vaneth urulaevo aethi", i.e., there are civet-cats even in a sandle-wood forest.
    Chromolaena odorata, Eupatorium odoratum, siam weed podisinghomaran - podisinghomaran - Cosidered a noxious weed.
    Chrysophyllum LaaOlu, Laolu - - -
    Chukrasia tabularis, Chukrasia velutina Hulan-hik, Ull-hik - agil, Aayili, Malaivempu -
    Cicer arietinum (chick-pea, Bengal gram)

    Important legume crop of the ancient world and modern vegetarian diets. Double cropping of chickpeas with short duration rice has been found to yield higher returns. However, Sri Lanka depends on imports for its supply of Chick-peas. The etymology of the word "Kadala" is unclear, as it is used as a generic word in South India. In sinhala, kadala could mean "pebble-like" and may be a description of the pea. However, it is most likely adopted from the Malayalam Kadala.
    Kadala, Chanaka (Clough, p179), Konda-kadala Chanaka Kondai-Kadalai, Kothu kadalai - The plant is a viscid, much branched annual herb; leaves alternate, pinnate compound, 2. 5 cm long with usually a terminal leaflet, leaflets about 6 mm long, ovate-oblong to obvate, deeply toothed and strongly veined. "Parippu" (Parauppu in tamil) is another generic word, used for lentils (Dahl), and also for "Thora-parippu", Pigen-pea (Cajanus cajan)
      Types of kadala, beans, peas etc; Sinhala(S) Tamil(T) names are :
    • Black gram (Vigna mungo), Ulunthu (T, S), Undu (S)
    • Black-eyed Cow Pea (Vigna unguiculata), Mae මෑ (T), Karamani (T),
    • Chick pea (Cicer arietinum), Kadala (S), Kondai kadala (T)
    • Green Pea (Pisum sativum), Patani-gram (T), pees (S)
    • Cow pea (Vigna unguiculata), Thora parippu (S), Thuvarm-parippu (T), Thatta Payir (T)
    • Field Beans (Vicia faba L), bonchi (S), Mochai(T)
    • Soya bean (Glycine max), Boo mae, බෝ මෑ (S), soya (T)
    • Green Gram (Vigna radiata) , Mung (S), Pasipayir (T), Payatham (T)
    • Horse gram (Dolichos biflorus), Kollu (S, T)
    See also the independent entries for most of these varieties
    Cinnamomum camphora Kapuru - - karppuram There is a sinhala saying "Kapuru daevoo thaena alu naethilu", i.e., there said to be no ash where Camphor is burnt".
    Cinnamomum dubium, Cinnamomum verum Cinnamon) Kurundu tacagandhī(pali), Lathaparna, patrnaamaka Karuvaa Cinnamon (name (of plant in the Laurel family) is a very ancient word, linking to Phoenician roots. "kurundu" itself is believed to have arrived as a spice in Sri lanka with Ven. Mahinda, the daughter of Asoka who brought the "Bo sapling" to Sri lanka in the 3rd century BC. However, the plant may well have existed here long before that.

    Several varieties of Sri Lankan cinnamon, as well as pseudo-versions like "Davul Kurundu" are known
    • Pani Kurundu, Pat Kurundu or Mapat Kurundu
    • Sinhala: Naga Kurundu
    • Pani Miris Kurundu
    • Weli Kurundu
    • Sewala Kurundu
    • Kahata Kurundu
    It is our objective to obtain pictures of these varieties. If you have such picture, please send them to

    Where does the sinhala name "Kurundu" come from?
    The word "Kurundi" existed, and was the name of a lost commentary on the Vinaya Pitaka, used by Buddhaghosa. Kurunthaka has also been used for the name of a tree in Pali texts, but we do not know what it was. The name "Korandhaka Vihara" (Kurundu Vihara?) is mentioned in Chapter III, para 36 of Viduddhimagga., written probably around the 5th century CE.
    Cinnamomum litseafolium Kuda Kurundu - - -
    Cinnamomum zeylanicum Kurundu, Val Kurundu Twale, Tvak Karuva, ilavankappattai Kurundugolla (Karuvaachchoalai) Kurundukaenna (Karuvaakkeani) Kurundu watta (Karuvakaadu) Kurundanvaeva (Kurundankulama)
    Cipadessa baccifera Halbembiya - - savattuchedi -
    Cissampelos pareira (Midwives' herb) Diyamiththa - patha, Ambasthaki appatta, ponmucuttai A small woody twiner with straggling branches, young shoots whip-like and pubescent;leaves simple, alternate, exstipulate, entire, small, ~3.8 cm long, ovate-orbicular or reniform-orbicular.- Used in child birth in south-America. It is mainly used for digestive and anti-inflammatory uses in India.
    Cissus latifolia Wal Diya Labu - - -
    Cissus quadrangularis (Veldt Grape or Devil's Backbone) Heeressa asthisamharaka - pirantai, perandai - Orbnamental plant in the west. Herbal medicine in South Asia for to heal bone fractures (as an external poultice); cooked leaves or burnt ashes are used for obesity and weight loss, diabetes, metabolic imbalance etc.
    Citrullus colocynthis Yak Komadu - - varagamothankodi -
    Citrus aurantifolia, C. limon, C. Acida Dehi jambira ? elumiccai -
    Citrus aurantium Ambul Dodang, Aembul Dodang - - -
    Citrus crenatifolia Naran, Naaran - - Naranthanna (Naranthanai)
    Citrus grandis Embul Dodam, Aembul Dodang - - -
    Citrus madurensis (Musk lime, calamondin ) Nas Naran, Nas Naaran - - -
    Citrus medica Sidaran - campiram - -
    Citrus limon Dehi jambira elumichai -
    Citrus nobilis Jamba naran - - -
    Citrus reticulata (Tangarines) Heen Naran, Heen Naaran - - -
    Citrus sinensis Pani Dodang - - -
    Clausena indica (Dalzell) Oliv.; Piptostylis indica Dalzell (basionym)
    Family: Rutaceae
    Small trees up to 4 m tall.
    Bark grey, smooth; blaze white.
    Young branchlets terete, glabrescent.
    Leaves compound, imparipinnate, alternate, spiral; rachis terete, pulvinate, glabrescent when young; petiolule 0.3-0.5 cm long; leaflets 7-13, alternate, 2.5-6.5 x 1.7-3.5 cm, ovate to elliptic with unequal sides, apex acuminate with retuse tip, base asymmetric, margin crenulate, glabrous; secondary_nerves 5-8 pairs; tertiary_nerves broadly reticulate to obscure.
    Inflorescence terminal corymbs; flowers white, pentamerous; pedicel up to 0.4 cm long.
    Berry, globose, 1.3 cm across, yellowish when ripe; seed one.
    MeeGon Karapinccha
    මීගොන් කරපින්චා
    ගස් කරපින්චා
    - Nana, Kariveppilei, Katta-veppilei- Used to flavour cooking. It is also valued for its anti-microbial activity.
    See, Vietnamese study: Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity -

    The essential oil obtained from the branches and leaves of Clausena indica (Dalz) Oliv. (Rutaceae) has been analyzed by GC/MS. Fifty-three components of the essential oil, representing 96.9% of the total amount, were identified. The main constituents were myristicin (35.3%), terpinolene (16.7%), and delta-3-carene (11.3%).
    Clausena dentata Image dehi karapincha, ali karapincha - kattu kariveppilai, potti The leaves are bigger than the common curry leaves, and more citron-flavoured.
    Essential oil believed to a valuable larvicide: Tamil Nadu study of Chemical composition
    Cleidion javanicum Okuru - - -
    Cleistanthus collinus (Roxb.) Benth

    A small tree with a corky, pistillate, reddish-grey bark and stout spreading branches;leaves simple, alternate, few rather large.-
    Madara -

    It is supposed to be also known as "Gajamadara" because elephants are believed to be scared of the tree. Leaves are not damaged by insects.
    Locals believe that one variety of Ochna is madara and that it is malmadara.

    In the threatened List of Plants
    indrayava,- oduppai, odugu,nilaippalai Pictures and write up adapted from information etc., provided by Shanta Abewickrema, Sep. 2010

    A very old tree stands in the temple of Weli oya, Kaltota (Galthota) said to be from India. One sapling was transferred to Balangoda famous temple with a Budhdha statue at a peak of a hill and visible to all area. It's seeds, leaves etc are very poisonous. Madara 1  
    Picture of Indian Cleistanthus collinus (Garari) with seed
    The crushed leaves are used by would-be-suicides, and as a murder drug. The herbal agent contains toxic chemicals such as dyphyllin, collinusin and glycosides. According to Shankar et al., Int. J. of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, Volume 16, Issue 4 December 2009 , pages 223 - 230, the cumulative case fatality rate was 30%. The median time to death after Madara ingestion was 3 days. Common signs and symptoms included hypokalaemia, vomiting, hyponatraemia, altered sensorium, bradycardia and abnormal ECG. There was a 58% risk reduction (95% CI: 29-75) in death with each 1 mmol/l increase in plasma potassium level.   Madara poisoning case stud,Easwarappa et al .J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2003;41(4):369-72
    Cleistocalyx nervosum Bata Damba - - -
    Clematis smilacifolia Narawel, Naravael - - According to the Lanka Chronical However, many clematis species (aristocholia clematis, birthwort)contain the carcinogenic "aristocholic acid"
    Cleome monophylla ran-manissa - ucivelai -
    Cleome icosandra Boo-wal aba - nattaccarimuli -
    Cleome pentaphylla Awsada welaa-kola - vaivinta -
    Cleome pentaphylla Sitharjaka - vaylee The name "Sitharjaka" seems to be mainly used in sinhala medical texts, sometimes also for white (sitha Basil (Arjaka). See also B. Clough, p682
    Cleome viscosa Wal-aba - naivelai -
    Clerodendrum inerme Galinda, wael-bo-haenda - - kuppi, Varieties of Pinna (Clerodendrum) are used in herbal medicine
    Clerodendrum infortunatum, Clerodendrum viscosum, Volkameria infortunata C. serratum (Hill Glory- Bower) Pinna, Gas-Pinna, Kalupinna bhandira karukanni, Perugilai, vellaikkanni 1-2 metere high shrub. Most plants with the"Pinna" name have applications in traditional medicine. Images and write up.   see also Phytlgia, vol 61, p 186 for field-naturalist discussions.
    Pinna leaves (Pinna kola) are used to wrap "Haelapa", a flat cake made of "Kurakkan"(Eleusine coracana).
    A Kandyan place name, "Pinnakaele", may or may not have originated from "Pinna thicket" in sinhala. A village legend says that there were two pretty sisters in a Kandyan village, one known as "Kalu Maenike", and the other "Rathu Maenike". The King fancied Rathu Manike and took her to the Palace, and Kalu Manike remained in the village, where Kalu maenike is reputed to have been asked:   "Aei dha kalu pinnokele?"   ඇයිද කලු පින් නොකලේ ?
    Clerodendrum paniculatum Rathu mal Pinna - - -
    Clerodendrum philippinum Pinna - - -
    Clerodendrum serratum Kanhendha, Kanhaendha - - -
    Clerodendrum phlomidis Beheth Pinna- - talutalai, Taluddai Shrub, up to 3 meters tall and common in Sri lanka. Used in Dashamoola Arishtaya medical preparation. Images and write up
    Clitoria ternatea, Clijoria ternatae (Butterfly pea) Katarolu, Katarodu, Sithapushpa
    Images and write up
    aparajita, Sankhapushpi- kakkanam, kakkattan, sangupu Sithapusha is mentioned in B. Clough's 19th century dictionary. A perennial twining herb with long, cylindrical stems covered with scantily depressed hair; leaves alternate, stipulate, imparipinnate compound.. Flowers mainly blue., sometimes white et. - Now used in ornamental hanging baskets in the west. Its seeds, roots etc., used in Ayurveda, as a vermicde, in pregnancy etc.
    Clotalaria juncea Andana Hiriya. Andana Heeriya - - -
    Coccinia grandis L. Voigt, Coccinia indica ( ivy gourd, baby gourd)
    family: Cucurbitaceae
    Pier 2011 gives the following description:
    perennial herbaceous vine. Stems mostly glabrous, produced annually from a tuberous rootstock; tendrils simple, axillary. Leaves alternate, simple, blade broadly ovate, 5-lobed, Inflorescence usually of solitary, axillary flowers. Calyx of 5 subulate, recurved lobes 2-5mm long on the hypanthium; peduncle 1-5cm long. Corolla campanulate, white, 3-4. 5cm long, deeply divided into 5 ovate lobes. Stamens 3, present as staminodes in female flowers. Ovary inferior. Fruit a smooth, bright red, ovoid to ellipsoid berry 2. 5-6cm long". Images and description
    Kowakka, Kovakka

    It is eaten cooked in a manner similar to bitter melon (karawila, Karavila).

    The vine can become a troublesome weed and controlling it is difficult.
    Bimbi kovai, matupakku The plant has been evaluated for blood-suger lowering and other effects. For example, M. A. A. K. (Matara Hospital) Munasinghe et al., Experimental Diabetes Research Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 978762, doi:10.1155/2011/978762

    Double-blind phase I clinical trial was conducted at the general hospital and a private hospital in Matara in August 2009. All the participants were given a common meal for dinner, and they maintained a 10-hour fasting period. Sixtyone healthy volunteers were given a meal containing 20g of leaves of Coccinia grandis which was mixed with a measured amount of scraped coconut and table salt for breakfast, and other 61 were given the placebo meal which also contained scraped coconut and salt. ..(sic).. Results. Overall blood sugar levels of the experimental group were also significantly lower than those of the control group (F(1,117) ...sic... Conclusions. Coccinia grandis has a blood sugar lowering effect. However further studies are needed to validate our findings.

    Bhattacharya et al. Evaluation of Antifungal and Antibacterial Activities of the Plan...,
    Cochlospermum Gossipyum, Cochlospermum religiosum (Buttercup tree, golden silk cotton tree) Kinihiriya, Ela-imbul - Kattupparutti, Tanaku konga The flowers are used in temple offerings.- Images and write up
    Cocos nucifera , coconut pol, Pol, Thambili, Thaembili, Kurumba, Vaevara

    Thaembili is the golden coloured type of coconut, known as ``Ran-thaembili''. A somewhat whiter variety is known as ``Gon-thaembili'. The variety 'Pora-pol' is used for sports as hard missiles. For other varieties and coconut diversity, see J.Natn.Sci.Foundation Sri Lanka 2009 37 (2):99-109 by P. N. Dasanayaka et al.
    Note that Bimpol (Trichopus zeylanicus) is not a palm, but a green herb found in Ritigala, and in the wet low-country in Sri Lanka.
    The introduction on new varieties (e.g., Kola Kundira) is discussed in an Island newspaper article, 2011

    Kurumba, Vaevara are young coconuts, where the white ``flesh'' (called `lond(h)a' in Sinhalese) inside the fruit has not formed completely.
    Naarikela,Nāḷikerika, Narikela, Narikera, Plli, proto-phala, puga, toyagarbha, karakatoya

    The three names Plli, proto-phala and puga are for generic palms, and they go back to the ancient Indian epics. According to the Cologne Sanskrit dictionary, Plli is used for a `group of palms'. However, in contemporary usage pilli, or plli is mostly used for the Misawak tree.
    Thennnai, Ila,taakkinay

    5-th century sangam literature etc., show the gradual influx of Sanskrit words into Tamil. (Kailasapathy has discussed this subject in some detail).

    Taala , as well as Nartikela, Puga, and probabaly Pul seemed to be used in southern Indian languages which were rapidly maturing with the shift of power to the south, when the Northern empires had begun to wane. At that time Prakrit began to differentiate into Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil by absorbing into these respective Dravidian languages. Note that `Dravidian', or `dameda' of the Mahavamsa, simply means `southern' as seen by North Indian writers, or the Mahavamsa writer who identified himself with the North-Indian Vijaya clan.

    Some Tamil scholars have argued that the name ``Ilam, Eelam'', or ``hela'' for Lanka may have come from the Tamil name for coconut, Ila. The more likely possibility is that the Tamil name "Ila" for the coconut came from it being found in the island of Helalanka, or Hela, which morphed into Ila in Tamil. The addition of an 'H', or an 'a', in front of some words is typical of ancient Parkrit-Elu usuages. Thus the 'elu' word 'rahath' becomes 'Arhath', or 'Arhanth' in Sanskrit/Pali. The same rule is mentioned in the Tamil grammar Tolkappian.
    The origin of the word "Pol" has been extensively debated. Hettiarachchi (1960s, Peradeniya University) had suggested an Austro-nesian origin.
    Mahdi (Mahdi, W. 1998. Linguistic data on transmission of Southeast Asian cultigens to India and Sri Lanka. Archaeology and Language II. R.M. Blench and M. Spriggs (eds.) 390-415. London: Routledge.1998:396 ) argues that the coconut was carried to Sri Lanka and India prior to the 2nd century BCE; it occurs at Arikamedu in a Roman setting. Tamil taakkinay can mean a fruit of the south, presumably referring to a Sri Lankan origin. Hence, Sri Lanka may have had the tree long before India. That is, the south Indian coastal regions would have got the coconut trees, and even the Palmyra from ancient Sri Lanka, or from other tropical sources like the Laccadives. The Tamil words Talaippalai, talaittatu, taalam,taalappam, taalapattiram etc., can be directly traced to Sanskrit words. In fact we see that most of the Tamil words for palm trees, talipots, acrecanuts etc., can be related to sanskrit root words. Hence it should not be surprising that, contrary to the position taken by Hettiarachchi, the sinhala words `pol', 'thal', and 'puvak' should find their ancestry in Sanskrit, as we discuss below. The Mahabharata and other early texts use words like Pllu, protphala, puga, for various species of palms - arecanut, Palmyra, coconut, talipot etc (see Cologne Sanskrit Dictionary, and Capeller's Sanskrit Dictionary), and one may surmise that the old Tamil forms Plli, purpati, Pukam, Puluriyam, Pul are related to these Sanskrit words. The earliest Indian civilizations had already brought a form of Prakrit to Sri Lanka,. Hence the pre-Buddhist settlers of Sri Lanka, nourished by many languages as it is on the ancient sea routes connecting Sumaria and the east, as well as contacts with India, would have used a sanskritic name like Phala, palla morphing into Pol. The early-medieval (sangam period ~2-5 CE) Tamil words like `Pul', now used for 'grass' and not for palms, may have also come from the Sanskrit `Pllu or Puga'. There is probably little doubt that the Tamil word for arecanut, 'pukam' is directly related to the Sanskrit root 'puga', which also gave rise to 'puva' and 'puvak' in Sinhala.
    The more well known form used in Sanskrit, viz., narikela or Narikera has been claimed to be a composite of the two Austronesian words for coconut, `nyiur' and `kelapa', or at least incorporate elements from these roots. However, that claim ignores the occurrence of the word in the Mahabharata (c.f., also Cologne Sanskrit Dictionary). The Sanskrit Naarikera has been adapted to Tamil as Naarikelam but not to any extent in sinhala.
    By the 5th century the coconut was known to the Greeks, as the term argellia (i.e., narikela) appears in the writings of Cosmas Indicopleustes.

    The first reference to a coconut plantation in Sri Lanka is in an inscription at Mihinthale, by the king Mahadathika Mahanage (7-19 CE). Culavamsa refers to a coconut plantation (three yojanas in extent), close to Mahatheetha (Mannar), during King Aggabodhi-I (571-604 CE).

    Toponyms Polgahawela, Polgasowita, polgaha-anga, Polgolla, Polmalagama, Polpitiya, Polwatta, Polwatte-kanda, Polwatte-gedera, Polkandi (Polkanda), polgaha-agara, polgahakotuwa, Polgangoda, Polgahawewa, polgahawila, Polgahayaya, Polgammana, Polkada, Polkatuwa, Polkumbura, Polpattala, Polpitihigama,

    Coconut water and its Medicinal value by Prof. A. Dissanayake  

    Toddy tapping was frowned upon bu Buddhists who refrain from alcoholic drinks. Hence Indian tappers, esp. from Kochin have been employed. They were known in Sinhalese as "Kochhchi'. Today the temperance movement is weak, and locals do the tapping, as well as the distillation of arrack from Toddy. Tapping Palm Trees - Indian Tradition   A tapping technique is as follows. The inflorescence is bruised in its particular stage of growth through beating and crushing it with wooden tongs. Then it is bound into "torches" and tapped by cutting off the bandaged tips (Redhead 1989). A mallet is used for slowly hitting several minutes a day the trunk beneath and above the stem of the inflorescence while swinging it and finally pinching it before incision. A new incision is made after every collection (Friedberg 1977). The method described by Crevost and Lemari (1913) for Arenga pinnata is also practised on Borassus flabellifer. In order to slow down the fermentation of the sap, the vessels are smoked and coated with lime (Redhead 1989). Bark or leaves from different species are also used: Schleichera oleosa bark or leaves (Friedberg 1977; Kovoor 1983), Shorea cochinchinensis bark in Cambodia (Crevost and Lemari (1913; Kovoor 1983), Shorea obtusa in Burma, Shorea talura in Thailand (Lubeigt 1977), Votica hermandiana bark (Magalon 1930), Launaea coromandelica dried bark, Anacardium occidentale leaves (Kovoor 1983), Vateria acuminta bark or Cyminosma pedunculata (Dissanayake 1986).
    Cochlosermum gossypium, cochospermum gossypium. Kinihiriya, wael kinihitiya - - Also called ela-imbul, p119 Clough's dictionary.
    Coffea arabica Kopi - kappi, kapikottai -
    Coleus amboinicus (Cuban Oregano) Kapparawalliya, Kapparavalliya karpuravalli- muttainari Picture - nettle family
    Coleus forskohlii, Coleus barbatus, Coleus aromaticus (False Boldo)
    Lamiaceae (Mint family) Image and write up
    Val seneha kola, Maagandi?, Kapparawalliya,? Makandi Karpooravalli (Karpuravalli), Pashanbheda A plant of the nettle-lavender-Mint family, light-blue flower, known to Ayurveda, for use in Asthma, blood pressure etc. It grows in the dry hilly parts of Sri lanka, Coleus in Sri lanka . It has a slight camphot-like smell. Modern rediscovery (1970s) and commercilization is as a fat loss medication, e.g., from companies in USA, Europe and also India (Hoechst Marion Roussel Limited, etc). In our view the research is is reltively poorely established. The plant and root extracts contain the terpene-alkaloid forskolin, which is claimed to affect variety of important cellular functions, including inhibiting histamine release, relaxing muscles, increasing thyroid function, and increasing fat-burning activity. Selective breeding to increase forskolin has been successful. Its mechanism is claimed to be enzymatic, via cyclic Adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), to modify the fat metabolism of the body. Beware of possible long term bad side effects. Claims for use as a "fat burner"   Images
    Coleus plants have also been reclassified as "Solenostemon", and are well kinown in horticulture as some varieties have coloured "rainbow foliage" (known as Villooda kola in sinhala). horticulture
    Weight-Loss scams
    Coleus rotundifolius (Madagascar potato) Jaavaala ? - - Edible coleus horticulture
    Colocasia Family Gahala or Haburu varieties - cempu, pantaki,chembu-kizhangu Many palce names are derived from "habur", and "Habarala = haburu ala". See Habarala

    Leaves peltate i.e., stem attached nearer to the center of the leaf, unlike in the Habarala family: Alocasia), leaf-stalks and tubers eaten-
    "Kiri-ala" (very pale green leaves), "Kandala," "Thadala," "Kalu-ala" (leaf-stalks purple), "Kalu-khandala" (leaf-stalks purple), "Yakutala." "Garendi- kandala," "Gahala." "Ala-kola" or "Gahala-kola," "Thunmas-ala." The last named is considered one of the best, producing a crop of tubers in three or four months, as the name indicates.
    See also :
    Traditional roots and tubers of Sri Lanka
    Some of the above are further described below. This is one of the most ancient foods of Asian people. The "Polynesian taros" primarily all have twenty-eight chromosomes, while generally there is a greater concentration of 42-chromosome types in East Asia. It has been speculated that the 28-chromosome cultivars preceded the 42-chromosome types into the Pacific islands.
    These "yams" have varying amounts of oxalic acid, and hence the the roots are steeped in water overnight. The steam is allowed to escape during cooking by prolonged boiling. The leaves are also eaten, and here too the Oxalic acid must be removed. Kerala recipe is similar to that used in Southern Sri Lanka, except that in Sri lanka a little "Thuna-paha" (spice mixture) is often added. Just as with Manioc, using ginger is usually avoided with these tubers as enzymes in Ginger may act on glucosides contained in the tubers, generating the corresponding poisonous acid.
    Colocasia esculenta (common taro) Gahala, Kiri-habarala - - cempu, pantaki Widely cultivated in Sri lanka. Images and write up   Ethno-botanical notes. -
    Colocasia nymplimfolia Vael ala, Wel ala, Yakuthala - - -
    Colocasia sp. Thun-mas ala, Isuru desala, Krir ala - - Listed under several sinhala names in Traditional roots and tubers of Sri Lanka
    Commelina benghalensis (Tropical spiderwort) Diya Beraliya, visshaari - kanankolai, kancatam Aquatic planit is used as animal fodder and also eaten by humans as a vegetable. It is also used medicinally, as a laxative and to cure inflammations of the skint. It grows in rice paddies.
    Commelina diffusa Gira Pala - - -
    Connarus monocarpus Radaliya - - -Description   See:Medicinal plants: traditional knowledge By Pravin Chandra Trivedi (I. K. International (Pvt) India).
    Corallocarpus epigaea Gopalanga - aakaasagarudan A perennial, tendril climber with a large, turnip-shaped root and succulent, zig-zag, glabrous and glaucous stems.-
    Corchorus capsularis (jute white, mallow leaves) Go~ni, ගෝනි Nadika - piratti-kirai, naruvalli The leaves are edible, while the fiber is a valuable product used for sacks etc. It grows in topical low-lands, but it is little exploited in Sri Lanka. University of Dhaka website, Jute
    The word "Goni-billa", presumable arises from the use of a sack to cover the head by goons and bandits.
    Corchorus olitorius (jute) Go~ni- ගෝනි - sanal, perattikkirai The fiber from this plant is not as good as from the capsularis
    Cordia obliqua (Indian cherry) Bahuvara sukshmaphala- laghupichhila ? naruvili, villi Bahuvaramuraya (Kulamurippu) Bahuvara wewa (Naruvilikkulam), colder climates, prefers deep moist sandy loam soils.
    Coriandrum sativum Koththamalli - kottumalli -
    Corypha umbraculifera, (Talipot) Talapath, (Puskola path) Talapathra talippanai, talappam The leaves are used in traditional "pus-kola poth" writing. Puskola Poth See also Images after German text -scroll down
    Coscinium fenestratum
    (tree Turmeric, false Calumba
    Weniwelgeta : Can we save this dwindling forest resource ?, Gunatilleke,July 2012)
    Wenivael gaeta, Weniwelgeta, Venivaelgata, Vaenivael gaeta, Baanvaelgaeta, Bang wel gata, Daruharidra, Pitadaru Maramanjal, Manjalkodi, Pasamantram, Imalam The name venivael is also found in Marathi but not in Dravidian languages. The name "Baan vael" seems to be specific to Sinhala.
    It is woody climber with a smooth bark, young shoots densely and finely yellow-tomentose; leaves simple, alternate, exstipulate, large.
    This is a highly endangered species with a high commercial demand and hence should be a niche agricultural cash crop for an enterprising farmer.
    see Journal of Plant Sciences, vol. 3, p133-145 (2008) by K. V. Tushar et al.
    Costus speciosus (crep Ginger) Thebu, Thembhu Kushta, kemuka- canda kostam, kottam, Kudavam The tree can grow ten feet tall. A paste of Costus, white sandalwood and dry ginger, made by grinding them down with human milk is claimed to relieve pain when applied externally on the forehead. Images and write up
    Cotylelobium scabriusculum Namendora, Namenddara - - -
    Couroupita guianensis (cannon ball tree)
    Lecythidaceae (Barringtonia family)
    Salgaha -Nagakesara ? Naagalingam tree, Kunturukkam Toponyms Saalavanaya (Lavanai) Ambasaalava (Sempankundu) Saaliya weva
    This tree is called Sal in Sri Lanka, while in many Indian Languages, Shorea robusta is called "Sal". The latter is probabaly the tree mentioned in Buddhist texts. However, the cannon-ball tree is very common in Buddhist and Hindu temples, and may have been endemic to the Indian subcontinent although today it is ascribed to South-American origins. Images and write up
    see also Shorea robusta
    Crateva adansonii, Crataeva religiosa, Garlic-pear tree, temple plant) Lunuwarana, Lunu varana, Lunuvarana Varuna- Marvilinga- A small tree with a grey bark, much branched, the young twigs marked prominently with leaf scars; leaves alternate, 3-foliate, deciduous, leaflets shortly stalked.
    Images and write up
    Used for treatment of kidney stones and urinary problems in traditional medicine. A typical preparation is described as follows, and claimed to be efficacious, although NO double-blind studies have been reported.: A very "efficacious" compound decoction in combination with an equally powerful lithontriptic remedy is composed of Tribulus Terrestris, Gokshura or Gokatu of the Sinhalese, and ginger, in equal quantities. Make a decoction and administer with the addition of Yavakshara (impure K2CO3, potassium carbonate) and honey. The bark is reduced to ashes, which contain a quantity of alkaline matter. It is made into a solution and boiled down again with the powdered bark, to which is added impure carbonate of potash (Yavkshara); the solution is evaporated and the resulting powder is given with treacle in ascites, calculus and enlargement of the abdominal viscera. The leaves or their juice are used in the form of a decoction for swelling, and for burning sensation of the soles of the feet. This ailment is called Rakta Vaathaya in sinhala medicine.
    Crinum asiaticum (spider lilly, Grand crinum lilly) Tholabo, තොලබෝ nagadamani- sudarsana - visha moongil A large bulbous herb, about 90 cm tall with a bulb 5-10 cm diameter, narrowed into a neck, l5-30 cm long, clothed in old leaf sheaths; leaves simple. Caterpillar growth- Used as an emetic. The bulb is poisonous. Images and write up.
    Crinum defixum Heen Tholabo - - -
    Crinum zeylanicum Goda Manel - - -
    Crossandr infundibulifomis (L.) Nees [= C undulaefolia Salisb.] - - - Small undershrub found in Low-country areas. Sinhala and Tamil names unidentified. Please send info., photos to
    Crotalaria juncea Andana Hiriya- - kuttu -
    Crotalaria laburnifolia,Crotalaria verrucosa (bird flower) Yak Beriya - - -A large, much branched herb
    Crotalaria pallida, Crotalaria spp Andanagiriya - - -
    Crotalaria retusa, Croton laccifer Kappetiya - kilukiluppai -
    Croton tiglium (purging croton) Japala, Jayapala - Dantibija, Tintidiphala, Dravanthi, Jeyphala- nervalam, nagandi Seeds are a powerful purge. Plant used in Homeopathic and Ayurveda medicine.-
    Croton caudatus, Croton aromaticum Wel kappetiya, Vael Kaeppetiya - - -
    Croton megalocarpus (Croton)
    Image of Croton Megalocarpus
    krotan-gaha - - Codiaeum Variegatum pictum is the more popular ornamental plant. Image and write up. Croton megalocarpus has become a more attractive candidate than Jatropha ( a variety of Endaru) as a source of Bio-diesel. See German-Kenyan study
    Cryptocarya membranacea Thavvaenna - - -
    Cryptocoryne walkeri Schott (water trumpet) Yatiudala - Athiudayan - Well known aquarium plant originating in Sri lanka. Images and description
    daily News Oct-2011 report
    Cryptolepis buchananii Kalukohola ?Vael Rukaththana ? Krishnasarva, karanta palkoti, Gopavalli, Maddankodi Kalukolladoova (Karungkodith-theevu)
    Cucumis melo, Cucumis callosus Kaekiri, kekiri, Gon Kekiri Karkati vellarikkay Kakirimaduwa (Kachchilamadu)
    A kind of Kekiri is known as "Gaja-danthapala", p 150 of Clough's Dictionary, 1892.
    Cucumis sativus (Cucumber) Pipingna trapusha- vellarikkay, vellari "Gandira" is also a kind of cucumber known in rural Sri lanka.
    Cucurbita maxima
    Squash, pumpkin, citrouille etc.
    Wattakkaa, Wattakka, Wattaka, Vattakka gudayogaphala- dangari carkkaraipparanki, paranki, parangkikkaay There are many varities of this popular squash. The Sinhalese version of the "Pampkin curry" uses browned coconut ("kalu pol"), roasted rice etc: Watttakka cury
    Wattakka Wewa (more correctly, Vattaka vaeva) is a place name, but may be derived from the bird "vattaka".
    The pumpkin figures in Fairy tales (cinderella); it is used for Haloween lanterns, as well as in the sinhala "raban pada" (rural drum beats".
    Uda Pala Gaththath Vattakkaa.... Bima pala gaththath Vattakkaa.. Uda pala gaththath.. bima pala gaththath.. punchi punchi gedi Vattakkaa...
    The name "Vattaka Piritha" (Buddhist canon, vattaka) refers to the bird "vatuva", a type of quail, and not to a pumpkin.
    Cullenia rosayroana Wal Durian, Kataboda - - See alawwatte swamp
    Cuminum cyminum(cumin)
    Family: Umbelliferae
    The seeds are paired or as separate carpels, & 3-6mm (1/8-1/4 in) long, wirh a striped pattern of nine ridges and oil canals, hairy, straw-brown in colour, boat-shaped, tapering at ends, with tiny stalks invisible to the eye.
    'Jira" in sanskrit means to 'digest'. Classically, cumin symbolised gormandism; thus the food-loving Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius came to be known privately as ‘Cuminus’
    shiragam, cirakam Should not be confused with caraway seed. Cumin is sharper in taste, and the seeds are larger. The sinhala 'duru' is derived from the pali-sanskrit jeera for digest. It is an essential part of Sinhalese cooking.
    sweet cumin (fennel) is known as maaduru (ma-duru), while black cumin (Nigella sativa) is 'kalu-duru' in Sinhalese. Sooduru seeds are about
    Curculigo orchioides Bin Thal, Heen Bim-thal - nilappanai, kuratti -
    Curcuma aromatica Wal Kaha, VadaKaha - katturi mancal, kasturi-manjal -
    Curcuma domestica Kaha - - see Curcuma longa below.
    Curcuma longa (Tumeric) Kaha, Ath kaha, Mim Kaha Haridra,- mancal, Manjal Important condiment, spice and medicinal material in India and Sri Lanka. Believed to reduce uric acid levels in the blood, reducing gout symptoms. It is the main constituent of alternative-medicine treatments for Gout, arthritis. Ant-cancer effects have been claimed. It contains a di-ketone which can exist in a enol-form. A chain of nine conjugated carbon atoms linking two benzene rings explains the yellow colour of Turmeric. Wiki article Tamil Nadu has the higest world production of Turmeric. -
    Curcuma zedoaria (white Turmeric, zedoary root, Red Leaf Spice Ginger ) Haran kaha karchura - Poolakilangu ?- Images and description
    Cuscuta reflexa agamula neti vela, aga mula naeti vaela, Gaskuta - cuppiracaram- A leafless, twining, parasitic annual with long branched, closely twining, succulent and brittle, glabrous, pale greenish yellow stems, sometimes dotted with red; leaves absent; flowers regular, bisexual, small, white, scented, on short, glabrous, curved.
    Cyathula ceylanica Bim karal heba - civappu nayuruvi, cirukatalati -
    Cycas nathorstii
    Note also C. Zeylanicus, native to Sri lanka, and the Andamans. Cycas circinalis is found in the Indian mainland.

    Images and write up Distinguished from C. circinalis and C. sphaerica of the Indian mainland by the more robust habit, wider leaflets and larger male cones with longer and more curved apical spines on microsporophylls. Megasporophyll apices of C. nathorstii are narrowly triangular with numerous fine lateral spines extending almost to the very tip, whereas the Indian species possess broader apices with a distinct extended apical spine that is free from lateral teeth. C. nathorstii is distinguished from C. zeylanica, the other species occurring in Sri Lanka, by the more closely spaced and more chartaceous leaflets, the shorter, softer and less pilose cataphylls and lack of spongy endocarp.
    Madu, මඩු, madugaha - kamappu Cycads represent an ancient lineage whose fossil history extends over 200 million years.

    For the etymology of the "Madu shrine" near Vannimava (Vayniya), see the place-names discussion.
    Cyclea barmanni Kehipiththan, Kaehipiththan - ponmucuttai ?- -
    Cymbopogon citratus (lemon grass) Sera bhutika- karenduka karppurappul, vasanapulla used in cooking, and in herbal medicine to reduce fever etc. Images and writeup
    Cymbopogon confertiflorus Mana, Maana - - -
    Cymbopogon nardus Heen Pangiri - - -
    Cynometra iripa (wrinkled pot mangrove) Opulu - Kadumpuli- This small, slow growing tree only produces seeds in years of abundant rain. It can grow to 5 m tall-
    Cyperus rotundus (nut grass, nut sedge)
    Family: Cyperaceae
    A perennial grass with dark green glabrous culms, growing from a system of underground tubers.
    Kalanduru, wammutu Musta, Mustaka muttakkacu, korai " If the ground slopes to the west and if kalanduru grass (Cyperus rotundus) grows there, then the site is suitable for the Sudra caste." (Mayimataya). It is an "invasive weed".
    The name vammmutu is mentioned in the medieval sinhala grammar book: Sidath sangara
    Ayurvedic and Sinhala medicine uses the plant for treating fever, digestive disorders, dysmenorrhea, wounds, bruises etc.
    cyperus santonici. Vel thuththiri, - - See Eragrostis atropioides and eragrotis varaities
    cyperus scariosus (umbrella sedge) ? Bhadramusta, Nagaramustaka- - This is a delicate, slender small herb with deep brown aromatic tubers. It grows in a "pandura" (like a clump, hence the english name "umbrella sedge"), and has tubers which have medicinal properties similar to "kalanduru", i.e., (cyperus rotundus)

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Daemia extensa, Pergularia extensa Meda-hangu, - uttamani Used as an ematic and expectorant. However, all plant parts, especially the seeds and latex, are often poisonous. They contain various alkaloids and glycosides, many of which are used in medicine and as insecticides. Images
    Dalzellia Ceylanica, Dalzellia Zeylanica, Wright 1852. Ph. D Thesis by Nileena, C. B., Kerala See image on page 29 of the above thesis. If you know the Sinhala name, Tamil name etc., write to - - Aquatic plant - Submerged rheophytes; Terniola zeylanica, Lawis Zeylanica are often cited together. If you know the Sinhala/tamil name, write to
    Datura Alba (Devil's trumpet)
    , D. metel, etc.,

    family Solanaceae
    Some plants previously included as Daturas are now put in a distinct genus Brugmansia {this differs in being woody, with shrubs or small trees, and pendulous flowers}. Other related genera are Hyoscyamus and Atropa.
    woody, stalked, leafy annuals and short-lived perennials grows up to 2 meters in height. The leaves are alternate, 10-20 cm long and 5–18 cm broad, with a lobed or toothed margin. The flowers are erect or spreading (not pendulous like in Brugmansiae), trumpet-shaped, 5-20 cm long and 4-12 cm broad at the mouth; colors vary from white to yellow, pink, and pale purple. The fruit is a spiny capsule 4-10 cm long and 2-6 cm broad, splitting when ripe to disperse numerous seeds.
    Attana, Sudu Attana, ela attana
    There are many varieties of Aththana, and one of them is called "Kok-aththana because of the prominent hook-like spikes ("koku" in sinhala) or spines on its fruit. These spikes are a mechanism for seed dispersal.
    Placenames like "Aththanaveva" (Achchcankulam", or Kokaththana-kulama or Kokachchankulam are found in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Closer to Colombo, we have "Aththana-galla", the home-base of the Bandaranaike political family.
    Datura, sveta-dhaturah (i.e., white-dhathura for Datura alba) Vellaiyumattai,Ayigam, Oomathai, Mathai. Mattai

    The Tamil names, "-yumattai", "Oomathai", "-mattai" ஊமத்தை are clearly derived from the words of the "Sanskrit-Pali-Prakrit-Sinhala"- language group where "Unmaada", or "Matha", "Madya", mean hallucination, intoxication etc.
    Datura species contain atropine and related alkaloids. Hallucinatory very poisonous drug. Datura is a classic "witches' weed," along with deadly nightshade, henbane, and mandrake. Most parts of the plant contain toxic hallucinogens, and Datura is known for causing delirious states and death. It was a common ingredient of "love potions and witches' brews".

    Datura wrightii or Sacred Datura, imges and write up

    Datura plants adapt by change size of plant, leaf, and size of flowers, depending on location. The same species, when growing in a half-shady damp location can develop into a magnificent flowering bush half a meter high, but in a very dry location will only form a thin little plant a few centimeters high, with tiny flowers and miniature leaves.

    The name has been mis-spelt as "Datra metal" in some Internet locations.
    Datura fastuosa Attana, Thunbo Aththana dhattura adukku-mattai See Datura Alba
    Datura stramonium Aththana Datura umattai See Datura Alba for more details
    Daucus carota, Apiaceae family. (Wild carrot)

    Similar in appearance, but different from it is the poisonous "Hemlock". Conium maculatum also of the Apiaceae family. The "Hemlock" does not have the smell of the carrot plant.
    Val Kaerat - mancalmullanki, kartkilanku The vegetable "carrots" are a subspecies or cultivar of this, known as Daucus carota subsp. sativus.
    Dendrobium Crumeratrum (Pigeon orchid) Parevi mal - - A very common, white, fragrant orchid grown in coconut husks attached to coconut tree trunks.   with acknowledgment to "beautiful Orchids
    Dendrobium maccarthiae Vesak mal - - One of the most colorful of the seven Dendrobiums native to SL. It was named after Ms. MacCarthy, wife of Colonial Secy, 1855, ( and Mr. MacCarthy has a road in Colombo named after him.)
    See Christie Alwis: "beautiful Orchids
    Dendrophthoe falcata Ehatu Mal- - pulluruvi -
    Derris indica, Millettia pinnata , Pongamia pinnata (Indian Beech Tree) Mal karanda ? Naktamaala pungam, Pungai Images and write up 1
    Images and write up 2
    Could this have been the ancient "Puvangu tree", now usually identified as Aglaia roxburghiana ?
    Derris canarensis, deriss skandens, Derris parviflora, Brachypterum elegans, Deguelia parviflora, Pterocarpus Parviflorus (Hog creeper) Diya Kala Wel, Diyakala Vael, Sudu Kala Vael - kotippunku The kalu Kala vael and sudu Kala vael are two varieties.
    The name Derris scandens probably means "leathe-covered (pods) and sprawling". Derris parviflora is a woody climber growing up to around ten meters on the tree-   Image
    Desmodium gangeticum Sulvaenna, Undupiyaliya - pulladi A slender under-shrub, with cylindrical, nearly glabrous stems and hairy young parts; leaves alternate, stipulate. Used in the herbal medicinal tonic Dashamoola aristaya -
    Desmodium gyrans Pranajeewa, Praanajeeva - - -
    Desmodium heterocarpon Maha undupiyali - pullati -
    Desmodium triflorum
    Undupialli, Heen undupialli - -- -A very small perennial herb, 15-45 cm long with numerous, long,, slender, prostrate branches rooting at nodes, clothed with white spreading hairs; leaves small, alternate, stipulate, trifoliate.-
    Dialium ovoideum Gal Siyambala - - A serine inhibitor has been extracted from the seeds of this "wild-tamarind-like" species
    -Dichrostachys cinerea (Marabou shrub, Sickle bush, chinese lamtern tree) mal-Andara
    see also Acacia catechu
    Bahuvaraka, Virtaru vitattalai, vedathalam It is native to Africa and the Asian tropic. Originally used as an ornamental mimosa-like plant but turned invasive, e.g., in Cuba. It has been claimed that Scottish scientists have found this shrub to be a valuable source of activated charcoal which is much better in quality (finer grain size) than the activated charcoal from oconut and much cheaper as well. Strathclyde University scientists end marabu weed nightmare However, its use as a possible charcoal source seems to have been known in Cuba, And in 2011 charcoal exports reached a value of 6 million USD: Charcoal Making in Cuba

    toponyms Andaradoova (Vidataltivu) Andaravala (Vidatalpalai)
    Dillenia indica Hondapara, Wampara Ruvya uva A moderate-sized, round-headed tree with a cinnamon-brown bark; leaves very large, closely placed.
    Dillenia retusa Goda Para - - -
    , , Dilivaria illicifolia Katu Ikili, Vael Ikiri - Kazhuthai Mulli, Kalutaamul See also Trapa bicornis = ikiliya, related to mangroves.
    Placename: Katukiliyavala (Kalutavalai)
    Achyranthes aspera Karal Heba, Karak haeba, kinihi
    The name 'kinihi' is said to mean 'Kini=sore, 'ha=removes', and is said to remove sores.
    Apamarga, Khara-manjar nayuruvi Wildly growing weed, found in swampy soil, up to one metee high, flowers reddish-green, Used in incantations.believed to be a talisman to safeguard against scorpions and snakes -
    Dimarphocalyx glabellus Weli Wanna, Vaeli Vaenna - - -
    Dimocarpus longan MORA - cempuvan, Murali, Nurai -
    Dimocarpus longan Mora - Kaduppuvam, cempuvam -
    Dioscorea Alata, D. atropurpurea, D. sativa Del. (king Yam, Purple yam, Water Yam, greater yam, Winged yam) Hingurala, Raja-ala (Raajaala), Anjili-ala, kahata-ala, Kiri Kondol, Kiri ala, Ini ala, Ley dantha, Dandila, rathu-ala, Maha vael ala (Mha vel ala) - kayvalli, Raasa-valli, Khatangal, Peruvalli The many Sinhala names are for slightly different cultivars. It is a herbaceous vine, twining from from massive underground tuber. Stems to 10 m (30 ft) or more in length, freely branching above; internodes square in cross section, with corners compressed into "wings", these often red-purple tinged. Aerial tubers (bulbils) formed in leaf axils. Fruit a 3-parted capsule; seeds winged.

    This tuber has ~7-8% protein, and 75-85% starch. According to Wanasundera et al, the Vitamin C content of the yam tubers ranged from 13.0 to 24.7 mg/100 g fresh weight. The results showed yams to be reasonably good sources of minerals. Phytic acid contents of the yams were low, with values ranging from 58.6 to 198.0 mg/100 g dry matter. Total oxalate levels in yam tubers were found to be in the range of 486–781 mg/100 g dry matter, but may not constitute a nutritional concern since 50–75% of the oxalates were in the water-soluble form. The overall results are suggestive of the nutritional superiority of yams compared to other tropical root crops See Wanasundera and Ravindran,   Canadian studies-III by Jayakody et al   Canadian studies-II   Peradeniya study of Dioscora yams   Disoscorea cultivation - Sri Lanka Dept. of Agriculture, notes and images
    Dioscorea aquaticus raevul-puruk-wila - - -
    Dioscorea Esculanta Kukulala, Java-ala (Jawala), Nattala, Siriwalli, Kuda Vael ala (Kuda vel ala) - kayvalli, Thirivalli See write up on Dioscorea Alata. Properties are very similar. The starch granules (microscopic observation) are differently shaped in different cultivars.
    Dioscorea bulbifera Udala - kayvalli, kattuvalli, Combuvalli (?) See write up on Dioscorea Alata. This tuber has small or absent underground tubers, more numerous aerial tubers, and alternate leaves
    Dioscorea longifolius Gas Kothala - - Listed in Charles Pridham.
    Dioscorea obouneta Hiritha-ala, Jamburala - - See write up on Dioscorea Alata
    Dioscorea oppositifolia, Diosorea Villosa (Wild yam, Chinese Yam) Kondol - varivalli, Kavala-kodi,Verrilaivalli A varaiety of Kondol, found in N. America as well. and has been of pharmaceutical interest as it contains saponins which can be chemically converted to steroids (progesterone -a contraceptive, cortisone etc.). See images   See write up on Dioscorea Alata
    Dioscorea paniculatus Puruk-wila - - -See Charles Pridham.
    Dioscorea Rotundata (African Disocora) Thambala - Kotakavalli,Urumpirei See write up on Dioscorea Alata
    Dioscorea pentaphylla, D. triphilla (five-leaf yam) Kondol, Katuala, Katuwa-ala - kattuvalli, Kaattukkaayvalli Image See write up on Dioscorea Alata
    It has been claimed that It is probable that dioscorea yams, such as Dioscorea spicata, D. pentaphylla and D. oppositifolia were staples in the diet, as they were among South Asian hunters and gatherers in recent times., e.g., Deraniyagala et al, International Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences, Vol. 5, p. 277 (1998)
    Diospyros family (EBENACEAE) (Ebony/Parsimmon family Kaluvara family - - The Diospyros are a very valuable group of timber trees. They are also a favoured choice as commemorative trees. Some related trees are in the Maba -- classification., reclassified in 1981 by Kostermans. An authoritative study (2006) of the Genus Diospyros L. has been carried out by B. K. L. Wickramasinghe (Open University Nawala) and T. Herat. Dyospyros wood species in SL
    For systematics of Diospyros, see Wallnofer: The Biology and Systematics of Ebenaceae: a Review
    Diospyros atrata Kalu Kenda - Gusvakendu Timber tree, Ebony family. Images and short discrip.  
    Diospyros attenuata, c.f, D.melanoxylon D. ebenaster (?) Kadumberiya, Kaluvaella - - IUCN redlisted
    Diospyros chaetocarpa, c.f., Diospyros oppositifolia Kalu Madiriya - - Valued Timber tree. The chemistry of the bark has been studied at Peradeniya Univwersity under Sultan Bawa's natural products effort in the 1970s.
    We haven't found souitable images.
    Diospyros condelleana, Disopyros Thwaitesii Ho-madiriya, Ho Maediriya - - Valued Timber tree (Ebenaceae). We haven't found suitable images.
    Diospyros ebenum (Ebony, Ceylon Persimmon) Kaluvara, Kaluwara - - Valued timber tree, produces the best Ebony Image and plant profile   Valued in cabinatry and french furniture: An ebony cabinet
    Diospyros embryopteris, Embryopteris glutinifera Thimbiri, thiburu, Kollan gaha - Panichchai See also, p 791 0f B. Clough; Timber tree (Ebenaceae). We haven't found suitable images.
    Diospyros ferrea, Hik-ul-Haenda - - Wickramasinhge et al, on Diospyros ... see also under Maba buxifolia which is sometimes claimed to be a variety of this tree (?). Kalu Habaraliya For systematics of Diospyros, see Wallnofer: The Biology and Systematics of Ebenaceae: a Review
    Diospyros melanoxylon (Jungle-fire tree) Beedi, Bidi, Kuduberiya, Kadduberiya kendu ? karai - The leaf is used to "wrap" tobacco to make beedi, a cheap leaf smoke popular in the malabar coast, and brought to Sri lanka by the Indian "Malabar Tamil" labour recruited during the late portuguese period to work in tobacco plantations in Jaffna (Jaapanaya).
    Known as tendu patta in India, this is taxed by Maoist insugents in India to raise revenue. South asia intellience report Beedi, images and write up   Images of Jungle-fire tree
    Diospyros malabarica, D. embryopteris, D. glutinosa Timbiri, thinduka - thumbai The tree exudes a glutinous substance used for caulking and sealing boats in the traditional way. It is not attacked by insects. The unripe fruit is rich in tannins and used for curing nets, leather etc. Clough's 19th century dictionary lists the name "Thinduka".
    Diospyros oocarpa Kalukadumberiya - vekurakalimaram -
    Diospyros oppositifolia Kalumediriya, Kalumaediriya, Kadumberiya - - IUCN redlisted-
    Diospyros Ovilfolia KunuMaella - - -
    Diospyros quaesita D. hirsuta, (Calamander wood) Kulu maediriya, kalu-medhiriya, Kadumberiya - - IUCN redlisted
    Diospyros toposia Kahakaela,කහකෑල - - See p. 113 of B. Clough
    Dipteracanthus ringens Nil Puruk - - -
    Dipterocarpus hispidus Boo-hora - - A large tree, similar to "Hora" but with a rougher bark.
    Dipterocarpus glandulosus Dorana - - A large tree. about 55 m tall with a straight trunk, pale grey bark flaking off irregularly. IUCN red listed.
    Dipteroacarpus Zelanicus Hora - (challani, yennar, enneymaram, used in S. India for a related tree) toponyms Horagolla (Norochcholai, Nuraicholai), (south) Horagala, Horagampita, Horagampitiya, Horagoda, Horangalla, Horangolla, Horapawita, Horawala, Horawinna, Horanduwa, etc.
    (uva) Horabokka, Horabora, Horadaruwa, Horadoruwa , Horadoruwwa, Horagune , Horambuwa, Horatota,
    (West) Horagala, Horagaslanga, Horagasmulla, Horagolla, Horahena, Horana, Horanpella, Horape, Horawala, Horetuduwa,
    (Sabara) Horahena, Horahinella, Horaketiya, Horamula, Horanekarakanda, Horangala, Horawinna,
    (Vayamba) Horagas-agare, Horagolla, Horakandawila, Horakele, Horambawa, Horamune, Horatepola, Horawadunna, Horombawa, Horombugama, Horombuwa,
    (Uthuru-maeda) Horapola, Horawapotana, Horiwila, Horombuwagama, Horowtibbewewa, Horowupotana, Horowutibbawewa, Horuwila,
    (Central) Horagahapitiya, Horakada, Noragalla
    Found in srilankan forests including Sinharaja. Rain-Forest in Ceylon, John R. Baker, Kew Gardens 1938
    Images of a closely related tree, Dipterocarpus gracilis are given below: Images
    Dodonaea viscosa Eta Wararalla, Aeta Vaeralla- - virali -
    Dolichandrone spathacea, syn. Spathodea longiflora P. Beauv diya -danga - kaliyacca -
    Dolichos biflorus, Macrotyloma uniflorum (horse gram) Kollu
    see under Macrotyloma uniflorum. Good alternative to `parippu'.
    - Kollu paruppu, Kulad An annual hairy herb with nearly erect stems and climbing branches; leaves compound. trifoliate, leaflets nearly equal, often lobed.
    • Doona cordifolia, Shorea cordifolia, Shorea oblongifolia
    • D. gardneri
    • Doona Nervosa
    • D. Ovifolia
    • Doona macrophalla (thw.)
    • D. Trapezifolia
    • D. Venulosa
    • D. Zeylanicus
    • Potathala, Beraliya
    • Rat Dun
    • Kotikan beraliya
    • Thinniya Dun
    • Honda belaiya, kana-beraliya, maha beraliya
    • Beraliya
    • Yakahulu Dun
    • Dun
    - - Doona cordifolia and Donna Zeylanicus produce resins which were used to make varnishes. The seeds are roasted and eaten. We haven' found any images.
    Most of these are IUCN red listed.
    Some Hopea species are also named Beraliya, and Dun in sinhala. -
    Dovyalis hebecarpa (Ceylon Gooseberry) Kitaembilla, Kithaembilla, Kitembilla, Ketembilla, - kocu vetti Endemic to Sri Lanka. Horticulturists have created a thornless of of this gooseberry which is used in jellies and jams. Picture and write up
    Drosera indica (sundew) Kandulessa, kandulaessa - kocu vetti ; Easily distinguished from the other species by its linear leaves. Image
    Drosera peltata Pethi-Kandulessa, Pethi-kandulaessa - kocu vetti Insectivorus plant, ornamental Herb with flowering stems to 50 cm high. Leaves usually in a flat basal rosette and cauline- Charles Darwin drew attention to these plants in 1875 Link to Review article in J. Exptl Botany
    Drymoglossum piloselloides (penny fern, Dragon scales) Kasipethi, Kaasipethi - - Grows on coconut tree trunks etc. it is one of the most common epiphytic ferns in the lowlands of Southeast Asia. Images and write up It is used in "Kaedum-Bindung"(Orthpedic) poultices in Sri Lanka.
    Drypetes sepiaria Veera, Wira, Weera - - Veeragolla (Veerancholai)
    "Gal Veera" is a fruit-plant endemic to Sri Lanka.
    Dregea volubilis Kiri Anguna - - A very large, twining shrub with long, glabrous branches leaves simple, opposite.
    Drsmos elegans, Dresmos elegans Kudu Mirissa - - -
    Drymaria quercifolia Benduru - - -
    Drypetes sepiaria Weera, Veera - - -
    Durio zibethinus Dooriyan - - -
    Dyschoriste erecta (Bum. f.) Kuntze[= Calophanes nagchana Nees] - - paduwan- Perennial dry-zone, shrub-like. There is also a D. madurensis (Burrn. f.) Kuntze [= Calophanes littoralis And.] known in Tamil as paraddai.

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Echinochloa crus-galli (Cockspur Grass, Barnyard grass)
    Image etc
    Wel Maruk, Vel Maruk Varuka Caamai This is a herbicide resistant (propanil, Group C2/7 herbicides) grass and infests rice.
    Eichornia crassipes, Eichhornia crassipes ( Common Water Hyacinth)
    Images and write up
    Japan Jabara - Akasathamarai Invasive water plant introduced to SL during world war II. The plant has been proposed for biogas production, and for "purifying" radioactive waste water due to its capacity to accumulate heavy ions. Biogas production from water hyacinth, 2007
    Island article by Dr. Pethiyagoda
    Echites antidysentrica Kelinda, Girimallika - - P162 of Clough's dictionary has an entry on this plant. Used in local medicine.
    Echinops echinatus alipohottu?, brahmadanda ?
    We are awaiting confirmation of sinhala names.
    Unkatara, brahmadandi kutiraippijan, kutiraippisanmaram Image-
    Eclipta alba, Eclipta prostrata (False Daisy ) Aster family. Keekirindiya, Kikirindiya
    Eclipta alba is specifically called "Ranvan kikirindiya".
    Bhringaraja, Kesharaja- karippan, kaikeshi, karisalankanni An erect or prostrate annual herb (weed), often rooting at nodes, with many diffuse reddish branches. There are blue, while and yellow flowering varieties. Image of white variety
    Used in Indian medicine (Bhringraj oil) used in "oil baths", and for dying hair when prepared with Nil-Aevariya(indigo); Indian Hair oils, herbs and health the leaf extract is claimed to be "a powerful liver tonic".
    Entada pursaetha (a woody liana) Maha pus vael - - Puswallava. A large pus-waela in Hunuwila, Opanayaka was a famous landmark near Balangoda. The major part of this was cut down despite public protests by private road contractors. There are many types of woody lianas. An image of one is shown here another picture
    Elaeocarpus montanus Kok Mota - - -
    Elaeocarpus serratus Weralu, Veralu chiribilva- aravata karai, ulankarai -
    Elaeocarpus garnitrus Maha-mad(h)atiya, Rath-veralu Rudraksha - Gurusiripura (Uruthirapuram)
    Elaeocarpus subvillosus Gal Veralu - - -
    Elephantopus scaber ( Prickly-Leaved Elephant's Foot) Eth Adi, Aeth Adi Gojivha- anattuccivan, Anachuvady, anashovadi Herb, 0.3m to 0.8 m high, hairy or rough - stem. Bluish-whitish flowers, about 6-9 mm long. Image and writeup
    Elettaria cardamomum Ensal, Enasal - elam, cirrelam See Knuckeles National wilderness by Gunatilake et al.
    Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn
    Crab grass
    Bela-thana, බෙලතණ - Thipparagi. -
    Eleusine coracana (nutchee, finger millet) Kurakkan rajika - Iraaki, ragi, kelvaragu Place names: Oora-kurahanan (Pantrichurichchan)
    It is claimed that the Kandyan nobility disdained Kurakkan, presumably because it was considered a food of the poor. It is eaten as a "Thalapa", or porridge. See Island, 1st Nov 2010.
    Millet is mildly sweet, (nut-like flavor) and contains beneficial nutrients. It is nearly 15% protein, contains high amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins like niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin, the essential amino acid methionine, lecithin, and some vitamin E. It is high in iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. But the the hulls and seeds contain small amounts of goiterogenic substances that limit uptake of iodine to the thyroid. In large amounts these inhibitors can cause goiter if it becomes the principal diet. The phytic acid in the seeds are claimed to reduce cholesterol.
    Eleusine indica BaluTana, Kurakkan - kevuru Dog grass
    Embelia ribes (false black pepper) -Walangasal, Valangasal, Vael aembilla Krimighna, Tandula, Vidanga- vayvilankam Important ayurvedic plant, seeds etc. It is used against intestinal parasites and intestinal worms. It is used in abdominal disorders, skin fungal infections, flatulence, constipation, indigestion, headache, hemorrhoids, lung diseases, obesity, piles, pneumonia, mouth ulcers, toothache and sore throat. write up, image -
    Embryopteris glutinifera - - Thimbiriya (Thumpalai) -
    Emilia sonchifolia Kadu Pahara - - A perennial herb with prostrate or decumbent stems, becoming erect at the ends, much branched, glabrous and often rooting; leaves simple, alternate, sessile.
    Entada phaseoloides (woody liyana) Maha Puswel, Pus-wel, Maha Pusvael - - An immense woody climber with a thick trunk and long twisted snake-like branches;leaves alternate, stipulate, bipinnate compound, large, main rachis 15-25 cm long, stiff and semi-woody ending in a bifid spiral tendril by which the plant climbs. There are many typoes of woody liyanas. an image of a woody liana
    Entada pusaetha, Entada phaseoloides Pus Weal, Pusvael - - Seeds are used in ayurvedic medicine. See Entada phaseoloides as well.
    Eragrostis (Love grass)
    Eragrostis atropioides
    Image (courtesy Buckley-plant-ecology lab
    A variety of Eragrotis is considered sacred in some Hindu localities. The Tamil name Dharbha, Dharbhai is used for that variety of Eragrostis - There are many varieties of love grass. The seeds stick to clothes, fur of animals etc., and propagate.
    Eriocaulon ceylanicum Kok Mota - - images
    Eriodendron anfractuosum, E. orientale Imbul, Pulun Imbul Salmali Illanku Imbulgoda would be a typical toponym.
    Old saying " Yakada dachcha geyi imbul pulun koyinda? ,i.e., Would you expect to find Imbul-cotton in a house where even iron has been burnt out"?
    Ervatamia divaricata Wathusudda - - A perennial shrub, ~1 m tall.
    Eryngium foetidum (Long coriander,Culantro, cilantro-cimarron, saw-tooth coriander,, African coriander) අඳු කොල Andu-kola Andu Kola Piranga - Images and write up This bi-annual herb is a culinary herb, being a constituent of Mexican Salsa dip for Tortillas, and as a substitute for coriander leaves. It rarely used in Sri Lanka. It s a valuable potential export crop for Sri Lanka, being exploited presently by Bangaladesh. Some times it is incorrectly called "Andun-kola". Acoording to Prof. Gerald Peiris, there is a reference to Ocimum gratissimum in Somapala Wijewardenas's dictionary, stating that O. grat. is Andu-kola. This is clearly incorrect. The strong aroma (implied also by the Latin name "foetidum") is supposed to repel sepents, including cobras. This fact is enshrined in a Sinhalese saying "Nayaata Andu kola pennuva vagei". However, no controlled experiments describing the reaction of sepents to Andu-kola extracts are available. The usage of the words Andu, Anduna and interesting personal comments about Andu Kola, Cobras, and Temples, from some of our correspondents are stored here - click for more..
    The plant is used in epilepsy. The coriander-like aroma is due to the presence of 2- dodecen-1-al (30-37%) and other essential oils. The essential oil of leaves of Eryngium foetidum from Bangladesh has been analyzed. (using gas-chromatographic mass-spectroscopy, Bangladesh J. Sci. Ind. Res. 42(3), 347-352, 2007). Sixty three compounds have been identified with (E)-2-dodecenal (37.4 %), dodecanoic acid (10.7 %), trans-2-dodecanoic acid (9.7 %), (E)-2-tridecenal, (6.7 %), duraldehyde (5.1 %) and tetradecanal (4.4 %) as the major constituents.
    Erythrina indica, Eritrina indica (Coral tree, Tiger claw) Erabadu - - kaliyana murukkan, Mullu-murukku The tree may grow to 80 feet. Images and write up
    This is often called the "Indian coral tree" while the name Coral tree seems to be used generally for many species, e.g., Erythrina variegata (see below) found in Sri lanka and in many tropical islands.
    According to Ratnasooriya and Dharmasiri, "In contrast to what was reported for the Indian plant, the aqueous leaf extract of Sri Lankan Erythrina indica showed potent sedative activity but no analgesic effects, as claimed by Sri Lankan Ayurvedic physicians.   Fititerpia Volume 70, Issue 3, p. 311-313 (1999)
    Erythrina fusca Katu Kela, Katu Kaela - - -Native to Sri lanka. ornage flowers compared to the "erabadu" which is deeper. This plant also has medicinal applications. It is also a common shade tree, esp. in Cocoa plantations. Images-US sources Image and write up
    Erythrina suberosa Katu Erabadu - - velaikkaliyanamurukkam -
    Erythrina subumbrans Erabadu එරබදු paribhadra- mullumurukku Antibacterial percaptans have been found in plant extracts.
    Photos See also Erythrina Indica.
    Erythrina variegata (coral tree) Erabadu එරබදු paribhadra- mullumurukku large tree with a thin, smooth, grey bark. The more ornamental form of Sri Lankan species is probably this. It has been proposed as a shade tree in Tea plantations. Beddage and Mohotti's paper on shade trees for Tea
    According to the "Lanka chronicle" the parts of the tree are important in traditional medicine.:
    "The juice of Erabadu leaves is applied to syphilitic buboes. The bark is febrifuge, its juice kills maggots in foul ulcers. Gaskela or Erabadu is astringent and is given in combination with other drugs in dysentery and diarrhoea. It is also used both as a lactogogue and an emmenagogue. It is an ingredient in many decoctions".
    Erythroxylum monogynum Devadaram, Devadaaram- - pittaru -
    Erythroxylum moonii Bata Kirilla - - It is a shrub/tree with pale gree Said to be good for worms (Panu gaaya"). Plae bark, eaves simple, alternatewith stipules, 3,7-7.5cm long,,1.5-2,5cm broad, and shaped like Tea leaves. Note that there is Goda-kirilla, Diya-kirilla (Piya-kirilla) as well as Bata-kirilla Images and description
    Eucalyptus species -
    We don't know of a local name. Eculaytus spp have been planted in "palugama/Keppetipola" area, according to Dr. U. Pethiyagoda, and in many other areas.
    - kirampu,ilavankam -
    Eugenia caryophyllaea (cloves) Karabu Neti, Karaabu Naeti - kirampu,ilavankam -
    Eugenia farancia Pini Jumbu - - -
    Eugenia jambos Damba, Jambu - perunaval,sambunagai -
    Euphorbia antiquorum Daluk - - kalli, caturakkalli -
    Euphorbia hirta (Asthma weed) Bu-dada keeriya
    Boodath Keeriya
    Kapum Kiriya
    Kaepum Keeriya
    - amman paccarici,cututuratticceti Use as a cure for Dengu Fever in the Phillipenes, and Images of the plant; The latex of the plant is also used in Sri Lanka to treat cuts and bruises, and worts. However, there is some suspicion that the latex may be carcinogenic. According to one write up, "Asthma weed has traditionally been used in Asia to treat bronchitic asthma and laryngeal spasm, though in modern herbalism it is more used in the treatment of intestinal amoebic dysentery. It should not be used without expert guidance, however, since large doses cause gastro-intestinal irritation, nausea and vomiting."
    Euphorbia indica Ela-Dada Keeriya, Eladath Keeriya - - -
    Euphorbia neriifolia Kola Patok - - A large, glabrous, fleshy, erect shrub or small tree..~8m tall, branches round, somewhat verticillate with pairs of sharp stipular spines arising from low, conical, truncate, distant, spirally arranged tubercles.
    Euphorbia spp Pathok ? - Naka kalli See Opuntia dilleni
    Euphorbia tirucalli (Indian Tree Spurge) Nava-handi, නවහන්දි Nava handi, Nava handhi, navahandi Nava sandhi -vajradruma kalli, kombukkalli The Sinhala name indicates the zig-zag shape of the twig-like leaves. "Tirucalli" is a Malabar-Tamil Nadu name. This plant (3-5 meters, or even 10 meters exceptionally) is a well known ornamental plant and also grows wild in Sri lanka. Long before the present interest in Bio-fuels, bio-diesel, the US chemist Melvin Calvin proposed the use of its Latex for making gasoline. (See Handbook of Energy crops, by J. Duke, and there may be Brazilian patents by Petrobraz. An acre may yield up to 40 barrels of oil). The milk is astringent, corrosive and toxic. It has been used in herbal medicine. Images and write up
    Evolvulus alsinoides Vishnukranthi,Wisnukranthi vishnugandhi- vishnukarandi, visnukiranti -
    Exacum trinervium
    -Exacum macranthum, Exacum walkeri, and Exacum trinervium pallidum. are species found in SL
    Binara, Binnara
    Exacum walkari- Sudubnara
    They are locally called as ‘Binara’ or ‘Ginihiria’ and are commonly known as Binara. Exacum belongs to family Gentianaceae and genus Exacum.
    - - A new variety of Binara has been found in Sri Lanka during the period between 2009 to 2010. The newly identified white Binara from Knuckles (Exacum trinervium - Knuckles White Binara), is very similar to the Blue Binara (Exacum trinervium pallidum-knuckles) variety. New Variety The endemic species of Binara is only found in Horton Plains and the Hakgala St
    Exallage auricularia Gata Kola, Gaeta Kola - - -
    Exacum trinervium Binara - - -
    Exacum walkeri Susu Binara - - -
    Excoecaria agallocha (Blinding Tree) Thela - tillai, Thilla Tillaiyadi in the Puttalam district. This is a mangrove with a poisonous milk

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    This should not be confused with Anise seed (Pimpinella anisum), although similar.
    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Fagraea ceilanica, Fagraea Zeylanica (?) Eta Muru, Aeta Muru - - -
    Farmeria metzgerioides, Syn. Podostemum Metzgerioides

    Description and diagrams
    C. B. Nileena, Thesis on Frameira species, Kerala
    - Creeper, attaches to rocks with hold fasts. - - Aquatic angiosperm-
    Farmeria metzgerioides and Polypleurum elongatum are two endemic members of the seven species of the Podostemaceae family foundin Sri Lanka. Out of the seven species recorded in the country, six species are found at Halloluwa/Hakkinda.
    Feronia elephantum Ali Divul - vilatti, vilamaram -
    Feronia limonia Divul dadhittha- kapittha vila -
    Feronia limonia Dimbul - norivila, Villati, Villan KUDAA-DIMBULGALA (Kudumpimalai) DIVULMOTTE (Vilattimoddai) DIVULVAEVA (Vilattikulam) MAHADIULVAEVA (Periya-Vilankulam)
    Ferula assa-foetida (Assafoetida) Singu, Perungkaayam (संस्कृतम्) Hingu Perungayam The sinhala usage `Perunkaayam' is derived from the Malayalam. A Sanskrit derived word is also used, esp. in the Sinhala medical texts, sometimes in the form "singu",
    It is a condiment and a medical ingredient. It is a pungently flavoured ("fetid" smell) material, obtained from the root. It is claimed to be an alternative, anthelmintic, antiperiodic, antispasmodic, carminative, deobstruent, deodorant, expectorant, laxative, sedative and stomachic. It is used in the treatment of digestive wind, bloating, indigestion and constipation, and for respiratory problems such as bronchitis, bronchial asthma and whooping cough. It is claimed to lower blood pressure.
    Ficus arnottiana Kaputu Bo plaksha, nandi Kalaal, Pulila -
    Ficus benghalensis (Banyan tree), Ficus indica
    Family: Moraceae (Mulberry family), National tree of India.

    Banyan produces characteristic propagating roots which grow down as aerial roots. these roots reach the ground and grow into woody trunks indistinguishable from main trunks. It produces a milky juice, and is a Ficus, as is the Bodhi tree.
    Nuga, Mahanuga
    Mentioned in Buddhist Suttas. The Naga-king Muchalinda (Mucalina) is said to have sheltered the Buddha (fifth week after gaining Enlightenment) against rain and winds when he was sitting under a Nygrodha tree.
    The Sinhala name "Nuga" may have come from the Sanskrit "Nygrodha", and it may have been worshipped by the Naga tribes, in addition to the Ironwood tree, which is known as the "naga" tree (or Na tree). A secondary form of the naga tree is the "Punnaaga", or Calophyllum (Domba)" tree which is not related to Ficus, or to the Ironwood botanically, but linked culturally.
    Nygrodha, Nyagrodha, Vata, Sriksaka

    It may mean Nyag- rodha, where "rodha" which may be an old (now nonexistent) Sanskrit form "rudh", to grow, which exists in the modern form "ruh" (Pictet, "Origines Indo-Européennes", p 145, see also, "Original Sanskrit texts ....", John Muir).

    The Aitareya Brahmanam of the Rig-Veda mentions the drinking of the Nyagrodha juice as a substitute for the Soma, drunk to obtain union with the Brahma. The Kshatriya (Royals) occupies the same place as the Nyagrodha among the trees, well planted, firm and spreading in the world (Martin Haug, Ed., The Aitareya Brahmanam of the Rigveda, p 488 et sec.). Charaka, the ancient Indian physician prescribed aqueous extract of leaf-buds of Nyagrodha, Udumbara (Ficus glomerata) and Ashvatta (Bodhi tree) mixed with honey to counter diarrhoea.
    alamaram, kottam , Nakar, Nakaram, Niyaman
    Alayam refers to a place, lieu, or temple, and occurs in "Vidyalayam" for "school". The word occurs in Prakrit/sanskrit as well. Hence "Ala-maram" is the tree which defines the place, lieu, or temple, where "maram' is a Dravidian form for "tree". The Hindu Puranas claim that Brahma , the god of creation, was in the form of the Banyan tree, and that "Tirumal"( the God Tirumalai or "sacred hill in South Indiia , the "lord of protection") slept on a banyan leaf. Siva , the "lord of destruction" is said to have sat under the banyan tree as Thatchinamoorthy (i.e., "Dakshina-moorthy", i.e., the form displayed to the South", hence this is a Dravidian view).

    Names like "Nagar", "Niyama" indicates that the tree even signified the location of towns (Nagara), or the limit of towns (Nyamama), and are tamilized sanskrit words.
    This is an important tree in ancient Indian religions (see under the Tamil name "Alamaram", and "Nyagrodha"). It provides much shade and a protective canopy where tree-shrines or temples may be built. Indian village councils, esp. in the South, met under the tree which provided a public place similar to a "town square" in medieval Europe.

    Birds inhabit the tree and propagate its seeds.
    The Nygrodha tree is mentioned in the Buddhist suttas, and it is found in Buddhist temples, where it plays a role secondary to the Bodhi tree.
    Ficus deltoidia (mistletoe fig)
    Image and write up
    Kalaha - - This is a small perennial herb, growing up to about 2m tall. The different shapes of the leaves represent different varieties some having a rounded shape and others having an elongated egg shape. The color at the top of the leaf is shining green while underneath, the surface color is golden yellow with black spots in between the leaf veins-
    It is used in Kaedum-Bindun (Orthopedic) medications in Sri lanka. It is also used in the beauty-industry medications in Malaysia.
    Ficus fergusoni Kos Gonna - - -
    Ficus gibbosa - Urticacece Wal ehetu, Vael Aehaetu- - - -
    Ficus hispida Kota Dimbul - peyatti, kattatti -
    Ficus lucescens Kalaha - - -
    ficus oppositifolia Kota Dimbula - - -
    Ficus racemosa, Ficus glomerata Aththikka, Attikka sadaphala, udumbarah atthi The "fruit" seems to grow directly from the trunk without the intermediary of a flower. However, the Aththikka "fruit" is actually the flower. In fact, it is a "false fruit" in which flowers and seeds grow together in a single mass. The small opening visible at the top (ostiole) enables a specialized wasp to enter and pollinate the flower or pseudo fruit.
    The fig tree is referred to in Buddhist literature (e.g., The Guttila Jataka) and has an ancient history. The Aitareya Brahmanam of the Rig-Veda mentions the drinking of the Nyagrodha and Udumbara juice as a substitute for the Soma, drunk to obtain union with the Brahma.
    An ancient anti-feminist sloka goes as:
    උදුම්බරං භවං පුශ්පං / ශ්වේත වර්නස්ස කාකදං   මත්ස්ය පාදං ජලං අනිබ්බිසං  / නාරි චිත්ත න්විස්සති
    That fruits of the fig come from flowers
    that there are are white crows
    that there are foot-marks of fish in the water
    that one can trust a woman's mind, are not be believed!
    We thank K. B. Hippola for this interesting sloka.
    Ficus religiosa Bo, Bodhi Bodhi vruksha, asvattha, ashvatta, Bodhirukka (pali) asvattam, arasu The Buddha is said to have meditated under a Bodhi tree when he attained a clear vision (i.e., Bodhi' or wisdom) regarding his teaching.

    The oldest tree with a continuous chronology, recorded in the Pali text Bodhi vamsa, from the time of planting (3rd century BCE) to the present days is the Sri Maha Bhodi at Anuradhapura. The eight saplings known as Ashtapal-Bodhi that sprang up from the Anuradhapura tree have been planted in different places by King Devanampiyatissa, and have indivdual recorded histories. Almost every Buddhist temple has a Bodhi tree.
    the Bo-tree at Watapuluwa is historic and commemorates the complete rout of the British colonial forces by the Kandyans in 1806. This tree was named the Davies Tree by the Britsh, and a plaque placed in 1906 recording the massacre.
    The Bodhi tree at the Kaluta bridge on the Colombo-Galle road is also a well-known land mark and shrine developed by the magnates of the South-Western Bus company that existed prior to nationalization into the CTB during the SWRDBandarnaike era.
    The Bodhi Tree at Pettah (near the central Bus terminal, Colombo) was built by a Tamil Buddhist, Chnnappa Sinnadurai, owner of "Leela stores" Pettah, in the early part of the 20th century. According to an article in the daily News, 23 March 2011, "A Chaithya came to be built at the Bodhiraja Viharaya, Pettah under the guidance of Sinnadurai. He played a very important role in obtaining the Buddha’s relics to be enshrined in this Chaithya. Further, Sinnadurai and his children later helped to develop the temple of Ven Palamugedara Somananda Thera who provided the relics to be enshrined in Pettah Bodhiraja Vihara Chaithya. Among the Buddhist institutions that benefited from the generosity of Sinnadurai and his children are, the Bodhiraja Viharaya at Pettah, Sri Mangalaramaya Maho, Kurundan Kulama, Pirivena, Wellawatta. It is significant to note that Sinnadurai’s children have erected Janavija Chaithya in Sinharaja Adaviya in Deniyaya".
    Ficus sperata Boo Daeliya - - -
    Ficus tinctoria Val Aehaetu, Wal Ehetu - itti -
    Ficus tinctoria, Ficus tsiela Ehetu - kallitti,irattiri -
    Ficus virens Kadol ?, Kaputu Bo? - varaiyalmuram, Kalaal Bogandara (Ittikkandal)
    Filicium decipiens (Fern tree) Pihimbiya - Place names
    Keembiya, kihimbiya, Pihimbiye, Pihimbuwa

    large shady tree. Images and write up
    Flacourtia cataphracta, F. ramontchi Rata Ugurassa, Ugurassa - - -
    Flacourtia indica, F. ramontchi, F.sepiaria, Gmelina indica, Flacourtia. inermis (Governor's Plum, Indian Plum)
    Family: Salicaceae
    Lovi, Uguraessa, uguressa, Katulovi, katu lovi
    The name `lovi', written `Louvi' is also used in the Philippines and other pacific islands.
    See also Prunus ceylanica, Katulovi? see also `louvi' Flacourtia inermis
    Shruvavrikksha, Aghori - kurumulli, sottaikkala,cholhakilai, kutukali, mulanninchil Flacourtia is the name of a Governor of Madagascar. The leaves are used in pruritus and scabies. Fruits are tasty, sweet, digestive.   Write up and Images -
    Flueggea leucopyrus (Bushweed, Indian snowberry)
    Securinega leucopyrus, Phyllanthus leucopyrus (synonyms)
    Katupila , Heen Katupila Bhuriphali, panduphali, shwetakambuja Irubulai, varatpulaver, Mulluppulatti Katupila is a scrubland thorny plant with white berries. There is a Katupila Vaeva (Katupila Wewa) near Balangoda. The placename Katupila Mankada (Latitude. 6.383°, Longitude. 81.517° on the Maenik Ganga, (Menik Ganga) and Katupila Ara are near by. A katupila forest is mentioned close to Udawalawa, Embilipitiya. Katupillegala (Katupaelaellagala), Katupaelaella tank, etc, are also found in the Uva, north of Katharagama, on the B35 road, near the Weheragala reservoir.

    The variety known as Heen katupila has also been mentioned by Alexander Moon. [Flacourti-Icosandia, white berries]
    Cough's dictionary, p99, and also Bradt-Sri Lankan Wild Life, by Gehan de S. Wijeyeratne, refere to a species of katupila known as Maytenus Emarginata, while the Udawalawa national park write up gives Katupila as Secyrinega Leucopyrous. Furthermore, Tephrosia purpurea, i.e., Kathurupila has also been listed as Katupila in tourist write ups. So there is considerable confusion.
    2008 SLAAS sessions had a discussion on Katupila: 646/E2 Characterization of Biological Activity of Flueggea leucopyrus Willd. (Katupila) B M M J Mendis, M D J Wijayabandara and S S S B D P Soysa, Dept. of Botany, Kelaniya University

    19th August 2009 Lankadeepa Sinhala article claims (anecdotal) that concotions of its leaves help cure cancer.
    According to Indian reports: The plant is sweet, cooling, diuretic, aphrodisiac and tonic, and is useful in vitiated conditions of pitta, burning sensation, strangury, seminal weakness and general debility.The leaves act as a disinfectant and its paste is used by local people to extract any extraneous materials from body tissues without surgery.
    Write up and Images
    Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel) Maa-duru, Ma duru
    The name may have arisen from the Sanskrit "Madhurika" rather than from Maa Duru (i.e, medium sized jeera, or Maha Duru or Mahaa Jeera)
    Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) Images and Write up
    Madhurika - The word 'Duru' is from 'Jeera', to digest. The name 'Maa duru' is also sometines used for Carum carvi L.caraway
    Fraxinus profunda Rata Puhul - - Type of Pumpkin

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Galutheria rudis Wal Kapuru - - -
    Gaesalpiinia bonduc Kumburu Wel, Kumburu Vael - - -
    Garcinia cambogia Goraka - Kodakka -
    Garcinia mangostana Mangoos, Maengus - - -
    Garcinia morella, Garcinia quaesita,Garcinia terpnophylla Kokatiya, Gokatiya kankustha- makki, makkimaram -
    Garcinia xanthrochymus Kolon, jamala - - -
    Gassipourea ceylanica Peti Thora - - -
    Gemlina Arboria (Beechwood, white teak) Etdemata, Aethdemata, Ethdemata
    is a moderately sized to large deciduous tree with a straight trunk.
    sindhu-parni, gambhari, kumla, kumalamaram, kumil,(Kumizh) Medicinal uses, Images, writeup
    Gendarussa vulgaris, Justicia gendarussa kalu weraniya, kalu veraniya
    is a small erect, branched shrub
    Kasanah, viadyasinha karunochchi Medicinal uses for allergies and other applications.
    Gentiana chirayata, Swertia zeylanica, Swertia Chirata (clearing nut tree, bitterstick tree) Kiratha, Kirata, Kirata, Kirata-tikta
    It is the main ingredient in Mahasudarshana churna, a remedy containing more than 50 herbs. It is said to contains xanthones s, and also amarogentin, a glycoside that may protect the liver against toxic agents.
    - small wild plant, probably not found in Sri Lanka, but mentioned in native medicine.
    Gerardia delphinifolia Renu- Haedilla, (P 766 of Pridham)
    රේනු හැදිල්ල
    - - See Charles Pridham, An historical political and statistical account of Ceylan and its dependencies.-
    Girardinia zeylanica Gas Kahambiliya - - -
    Gisekia pharnacioides Atthiripala, Aeth-iri-palaa - - -
    Glenica unijuga Kuma - - -
    Gliricidia maulata Ginihiriya - - -
    Gloriosa superba (glory Lilly) Niyangala agnisikha- langali kalappaik-kilangu, kantal, Karthigai Place name: Niyagala veva (Niyankallikulam).
    Glorry Lilly is the "official" LTTE flower; it is also associated with Murugan, sacrificial love etc (Thanninyagam, X. S. Landscape and Poetry 1966).
    It has been used in Sinhalese areas also by broken-hearted rural lasses as a suicidal love portion.
    The Pali text society dictionary , p179, refers to the Karavila (Momordica charantia) flower under the word "Kantha" (c.f., Tamil Kantal), and its use as a wreath on criminals ready for execution. The Karawila flower is vaguely similar to the Niyangala flower.
    Glycyrrhiza glabra, Glycyrrhiza uralensis (liquorice, licorice) Vael Mee Madhuka, Yashtimadhu (Hindi: Hindi Jethimadh) Atimaduram, (Malayalam: Yashtimadhukam) Important in chinese (Chinese: Kan tsau, Gancao) and Indian medicine. It has been proposed even for H1N1-flu Chinese herbal and swine flu (see also article in the Hindu, Nov. 2009)
    Images and details of licorice
    Glycosmis angustifolia Bolpana - - -
    Glycosmis pentaphylla -Dodam pana - konchi, kattu-k-konci -
    Glycosmis pentaphylla - - kattu-k-konci -
    Glycine max (Soya bean) Boo Mae බෝ මෑ, Soya Raja shimbi- soya Source of vegetraian protein. and excellent legume-food. Indian recepes with Soya

    There is some evidence that unfermented Soya products (UA) may upset the hormone balance, esp. in females, when such soya products are consumed, due to the phyto-sterols found in unfermented soya. Traditional chinese preparations used fermented soya.
    Glycine villosa Kalu Kollu
    See p114, Clough's dictionary
    - - -
    Gmelina arborea Eth Demata etdemata, Aeth Demata
    ඇත් දෙමට
    - kumil, kumalan This plant is component of Aristaya-
    Gmelina asiatica Gaeta-Demata, Geta Demata
    ගැට දෙමට
    biddari- kumil, nilakkumil -
    Goniothalamus gardneri Kalu Kaera, කලු ;කෑර - - page 114 of Clough's dictionary
    Gordonia ceylanica Sudu Mihiriya - - -
    Gordonia speciosa, Rath Mihiriya, Gordonia ceylanica is Sudu-mihiriya - - -
    Gossypum herbaceum
    Levant cotton
    Family: Malvaceae
    kapu Pulun
    `Kapu' is the elu adaptation of the sanskrit/prakrit karparsa/ka-pas Images and description
    Cotton was not known in the west until Alexander's conquests of India.
    - `Kapu Pulun' floss is `arabian' cotton. The tree cotton, Gossypium arboreum , is also common in south-Asia. Katu-Imbul (Eriodendron anfractuosum ) also produces a flossy cotton fibers like material, also known as `pulung'. However, the most popular spinning fiber may have been hemp. The `Kapok tree' (Imbul) Ceiba pentandra, also produces a wooly fibre used for similar purposes.
    Gracinia hermonii Madol - - This is a sub-canopy tree. It is also the title of a well-known Sinhala novel by Wickremasinghe (Madol Doova
    Grewia damine Daminna, Daminiya - - -
    Grewia microcos Kohu Kirilla - - -
    Grewia orientalis Vael Kaeliya, Wel-keliya - Thuvattai- -
    Grewia polygama Bora Daminiya, Bora Daminna - - -
    Grewia tilifolia Damina, Daminaa, Daminiya - unnu- -
    Guettarda speciosca Nil Pichcha - - -
    Guilanina Bonduc Bonduc or Nicker tree Kalu vavlaetiya, Kalu wavletiya - - p114 of Clough's dictionary
    Gymnema lactiferum Kuri-anguna - kurintai Kurinchagama (Kurinchakemy) Kurinchapitiya (Kurinjanpitai)
    Gymnema sylvestre Masbedda, Kunngjan - kurintai, sirukurinjan -
    Gynandropsis gynandra Vela, Vehela - velai,nal velai - -
    Gyrinops Walla
    If you know the original source of this image, please write to so that we can acknowledge them
    Patta vael, Pattawel, Walla Patta

    Eight people arrested for transporting endemic plant, Gyrinops Walla December 2, 2012

    See below (J. of Tropical Forestry & Environment,
    S.M.C.U.P. Subasinghe, D.S. Hettiarachchi, E. Rathnamalala

    Agarwood-type Resin from Gyrinops walla Gaertn: A New Discovery
    extracts of the Abstract

    Agarwood is an expensive resinous product extracted from some members of Aquilaria and Gyrinops species of the family Thymalaeaceae.
    Sanskrit name unknown

    Agarwood essential oil is a highly valued perfumery product in modern cosmetics and traditional Attar. Agarwood extraction from the above species and product manufacturing are done in India and Southeast Asian countries. Overharvesting, low natural regeneration, and legal restrictions at present, have limited the supply of this product.
    Tamil name unknown to us.

    Gyrinops walla is recorded in the wet zone of Sri Lanka, & it had been very rarely recorded in extreme Southwest India. However, recent reports of the abundance of G. walla in India are hard to find. Studies were not conducted in the past for G. walla on its ability of agarwood resin production & the quality of that resin.

    This is a threatend plant that grows in the forest area around Adams peak, Norton Bridge etc. It also grows in some low-country regions. A tree to look out for.

    S.M.C.U.P. Subasinghe, D.S. Hettiarachchi, E. Rathnamalala study is the first to identify the agarwood resin formation and the quality of G.walla which can be used as a substitute for that of Aquilaria & other species of Gyrinops. Resinous tissues were extracted from six G. walla trees for the present study from two differentareas, i.e., Labugama and Yagirala of the wet zone of Sri Lanka. The resins were solvent extracted in the laboratory and the resin quality was tested using gas chromatography analysis. The results indicated an extreme similarity of the compounds of G. walla resin with commercially available agarwood resins. However, further studies should be conducted to identify G. walla distribution and formation of agarwood.

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Haldina cordifolia Kolon - Mannakatampu- the incorrect name <>.Holdina cordifolia has crept into the internet.
    Hedychium coronarium Ela malgaha - cimaikkiccilikkilanku -
    Hedyotis nitida Ul Weraniya, Ul Vaeraniya, varaniya - - Used as props in Betel (Piper betle :.) plantations.
    Hedyotis pumila, oldenlandia crystallina Wel-kawududala, Vel kavudu dala - - -
    Hedysarum logopodiodes Pusvaenna, PuswennaImages and write up Singha-Puchchi pulladi A type of Sweetvetch; small herb with a flower likened to a lion's tail in the name Singha-Puchchi
    Helianthus annuus
    Asteraceae family (older name: compositae)
    Sooriya Kaantha, Sooryamukh,sooryakantha curiyakantam. sooryakanthi - Images and write up The sunflower is well known for turing towards the sun. Sun flower shoots are rich in protein, selenium, zinc, Vitamine E, folic acid. Use as a health food
    Sunflower and other flowers in the Asteraceae family are highly modified, very reduced, and grouped into head inflorescences. A typical head, such as the sunflower, appears to be a single flower but is actually an entire inflorescence composed of tiny flowers, or florets, situated together on a common receptacle. Subtending the cluster of florets is a whorl of green bracts known as phyllaries or involucral bracts. Collectively, these bracts compose the involucre. Thistle and danelion are in the same family.
    Helicteres isora Lihiniya - valampurikkay - this has been misnamed Helocteres isora in the internet.
    Heliotropium indicum Eth Hoda, Aeth Honda - tetkotukki, tenkitacceti - -
    Helleborus Niger (christmas rose, lenten rose) KatuRohini Katurohini, Kathurchini, Kadagarugani - Flowering plant (not related to roses), used as a laxative, and with a long history, referred to by the Greeks, in medeival witchcraft, and in Sanskrit literature.
    Hemidesmus indicus (False Sarsaparilla) Iramusu, Eramusu sariva- nannari, kirusnavalli, Ananadamulla Iramuduweva (Ilamaruthankulam)
    It is a slender, laticiferous, twining, sometimes prostrate or semi-erect shrub. Roots are woody and aromatic. Used for skin diseases. It is used to make beverages. The plant is used as a tonic, alternative, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic and blood purifier. It is employed in nutritional disorders, syphilis, chronic rheumatism, gravel and other urinary diseases and skin affections. It is administered in the form of powder, infusion or decoction as syrup. It is also a component of several medicinal preparations
    Dried root contains p-methoxy salicylic aldehydes. See Ruhuna University site
    Heptapleurum exaltatum, Hedara exaltatum Goda-iththa - - p 168 of Clough, 1892
    Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil's claw) kukul-adi? - - This is probabaly not known in Sri lanka, but may be vailable to herbalists and horticulturalists. It is valued in pain relief tratements, and extensively used in Souhern Africa. "Kukul adi" is the name given to us for it by a Colombo horticulturalist.
    Heritiera littoralis Ethuna - - related to mangroves
    Heteropogon contortus Tana - ucippul -
    Hevea brasiliencis Rubber - Irappar -
    Hibiscus cannabinus (Hemp, kenaf) Hana - Ambika,Sunishannaka, Sahasravatamulika - kaccurai, Puliccha keerai, Gongura, Palungu Fiber obtained from this plant is referred to in the proverbial sinhalese term "hana-mitiya". A "hanamiti kaarya" is some one who does not change and sticks to the outdated.
    Write up and images
    Hibiscus esculentus Bandakka - - -
    Hibiscus micranthus Bebila, Baebila - - -
    Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Pokuru Wada, Pokuru Wadamal - semparuthi -
    Hibiscus tiliaceus Beli Patta - nirpparutti -
    Hieracium Pilosella (hawk weed, mouse ear) Mee-kan palaa, mee kan pala - - Image
    It is not native to Sri Lanka, as it requires a colder climate. Its roots secrete chemicals into the soil inhibiting growth of neighbouring plants (allelopathic plant). The sinhala name is probably derived from the English by local horticulturists. It has an active compound used in sunscreen lotions. The plant is also a potent diuretic.
    Hippocratea macrantha Diya Kirindi Wel, Diya Kirindi Vael - - -
    Hiptage benghalensis Puwakgedi Vael, Vael Puvak - kurukkatti, madavi -
    Holarrhena mitis Kiriwalla, Kirivaella - - -
    Holoptelea integrifolia Goda Kirilla - - aya, aval p 168 of Clough, 1892
    Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Barley - - -
    Hortonia angustifolia, H. Floribunda Wright, and H. ovalifolia Wright We are currently looking for theeir inages and sinhala names. - - The Victorian natutalists, Wright, Thwaites et al., had recorded and collected Hortonia angustifolia Trimen, H. Floribunda Wright, or H. ovalifolia Wright . They are plants in the Monimiaceae (Laurales) family. It is endemic to Sri Lanka. and are now listed as critically endangered.-
    Prof. N. L. V. Karunaratne, and Dr. Mrs. Rukmal ratnayake, P'deniya have studied the chemistry of the the genus Hortonia, and the mosquito larvicidal activity.
    • Hopea cordifolia
    • H. discolor
    • H. jacunda
    • H. modesta
    • Hopea ponga
    • Mendora, Uva-mendora
    • Peely-Dun, Rata Dun
    • Rat beraliya
    • Pini-Beraliya
    • Dun
    - ilapongu, or kambakam is Hopea ponga Dennst.)
    Trees up to 18 m tall.
    IUCN red listed
    Hoya pauciflora (Wight)
    There is also a Hoya ovalifolia (Wight & Arn. Ex Wight) ,/i> listyed for Sri lanka
    Heen Aramana, Heen-Aramessa - - Threatened species, IUCN red list
    Hoya viridiflora, dragea volubilis, Wattakaka volubilis (L.f.) Stapf (sneezewort)
    Kiri anguna
    "kiri" here refers to the latex.
    - - Image
    All plant parts, especially the seeds and latex, are often poisonous. They contain various alkaloids and glycosides, many of which are used in medicine and as insecticides . A few succulent species (e.g. , Stapelia gigantia N. E. Brown, Orbea pulchella (Masson) L. C. Leach, and O. variegata (Linnaeus) Haworth are grown by botanists
    Hugonia mystax Boo Gatiya - kodivirai -
    Humboldtia laurifolia Gal karanda - - Ants, wasps associated with this plant Krombein K et al, 1997. . Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 99(1): 42-49.
    Hybanthus enneaspermus (spade flower, pink ladies slipper)
    Family: Violaceae (Violet family)
    Rathnapurusa Ratnapurusha orilaittamarai Synonym: Ionidium suffruticosum Ging. Used in ayurvedic/siddha medicine as a tonic, esp. for men. But the plant is not easily found in Sri lanka, unless horticulturally cultivated. See regarding regeneration from the seed. See also Rajakaruna N, Bohm BA.; Serpentine vegetation: A preliminary study from Sri Lanka. Journal of Applied Botany vol. 76, p20 (2002).
    Ni and other metal accumulation by serpentine plants (often dominated by Hyabanthus enneaspertnus, Evolvulu.s alsinoides, Fimbristylis falcata, Eutp/torbia indica, Crotolaria latebrosa and Blunrea obliyua, Phyllanthus simplex, Mollugo nudicattlis, Cassia mimosoides, Chlorophytum taxum, Fimbrisrylis acuminata, Polygala javana, Ischaenutm tintorense, Striga etrphrasiodes) has been studied by A S Seneviratne (university of Colombo), H G Nandadasa, W.S.Fernando, H H V M Sanjeevani and R L H R Rajapakse of Sri jayawardenapura from the "Rathupas-thalava" at Ussangoda, Hambathota in 2006. They reported (Forestry and environment symposium, 2000) that
    "Of special significance is the occurrence of two types of Evolvulus alsinoides wither with blue flowers or with whiteflowers. Also Hybanthus enneaspermus is found in two types either with pink flowers or with white flowers. The two flower types of Evolvuhus show distinct llavonoid profiles on paper chromatograms. The existence of 'flavonoid races' has been reported from other serpentine soils in the world".
    Short write up and images.
    Hydnocarpus venenata Makulla - - -
    Hydrocotyle asiatica, Centella Asiatica (Indian Pennywort) Gotukola Brahmi,Mandukparni babassa, Vallaarai (Vallarai), Vallarai elai. See Centell asiatica for updated write ups Green herb, eaten as fresh slad, cooked salad (Maellung), and in broth (Kola Kaenda) in Sri Lanka, where it is also a valued herbal medicine - general tonic. Ayurvedic preparations are available as oil, tablet, herbal tea etc. Leaves contain an oleaginous substance, vellarin, having a strong odor recalling that of the plant, and a bitter, pungent, and persistent taste. (J. Phm. Chem; 1885, 49.)
    Hydrolea zeylanica (Ceylon Hydrolea, Blue waterleaf) Diya-mitta, Diyamiththa, Diyakirilla Langali, - Vellel, ponnankanic cakkalatti Showy blue flower, aquatic.   Write up and Images The name Diya-kirilla has been recorded also by B. Clough, 19th century.
    Hydrocolyle javanica Maha Gotukola - - -
    Hydrophylax maritima Moodu-gaeta-kola, Moodu-gotukola - - --
    Hygrophila auriculata, See Asteracantha longifolia Ikiriya - nirmulii - See Asteracantha longifolia
    Hylocereus undatus
    (Dragon fruit, Pitahaya,
    Dragon pearl fruit)

    A number of other cacti are also confusingly known as "dragon fruit" plants. Thus Selenicereus megalanthus is known as "yellow pitaya", "pitaya amarilla", Acanthocereus occidentalis and Cereus peruvianus (apple cactus) are also known as "pitaya". The sweeter Stenocereus thurberi is known as "pitaya dulce". There is also Echinocereus stramineus which is known as "Mexican strawberry pitahaya".
    Pithaya, pithya gedi පිතය ගෙඩි

    The name Pithaya used in Sri Lanka is derived from Pitahaya a name going back to the central Americas.

    Commercial exploitaion in Sri lanka is more recent, with a demand for it from the hotel industry in southern Sri Lanka.   Sunday observer, 02-Dec-2007 , write up and images   The dragon fruit takes two-and-a-half years to harvest from the time of planting. It is said to be possible to cover costs in about five years. The life time of the plant is about 25 years.
    - - This plant is a cactus, native to Spanish America, and introduced to Sri lanka during the last few decades. The fruit is pinkish, oval shaped, with a faceted exterior and a white creamy pulp, with black seeds, as in a Kiwi fruit.   Images and write up   It is widely cultivated in Vietnam, China and south asia. According to Aztec literature, "Pitahaya" fruits date back at least to the 13th century.
    A somewhat unusual feature of the plant is that it blooms only at night, producing a large, white, fragrant flower, called the "moonflower" or "queen of the night".

    The fruit is popularly eaten as with a Kiwi fruit. However, unlike the Kiwi fruit, dried fruits are also used. It is also used to flavor drinks and pastries. Unopened flowerbuds are cooked and eaten as vegetables. It is also claimed to have various health benefits but there are no relaiable scientific data (thus the fruit is claimed to improve laxative action liver function, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity).

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Ichnocarpus frutescens Kiri Wal, Kiri Vael - pal valli, paravalli -
    Ilex zeylanica Andunwenna, Andun-wenna, Andunvaenna - - This is not related to Andu-kola This is a holy-like plant. We have no images to display. However, click here
    Impatiens bijlora, Impatiens biflora Vel Koodalu, Wel Kudalua - - -
    Impatiens cuspidata Koodalu, Kudalua - - -
    Impetiens macrophylla Gas Koodalu, Gas Kudalua
    Image and brief notes
    - - -
    Impatiens repens Galdemata - - Threatend species, IUCN red list.
    Imperata Cylindrica Iluk darbhah- - Ilukpitiya (Malayadi Kanda) Mahailukweva (Periyaulukulam) Illukweva (Ullukkulam)
    Indigofera aspalathoides Rat Kohomba - - kantari,civanar vempu -
    Indigofera enneaphylla Bin Avari, Bim Aeveri - ceppu-neruncil -
    Indigofera suffruticosa,
    indigofera tinctoria (Anil, Indigo)
    Nil-aevariya, Nil Averia,Nil Awariya, Nil Aevariya nilika, Nilambi- cimai-nil,Neela Amari, avuri, Nili Toponyms: AEVARIVATTA (Amarivayal)
    Indigofera Suffruticosa, as well as I. tinctoria are plants (pea family) giving an example of how a much-valued natural product (dye, obtained from pods etc.) becomes displaced by better sysnthetic products (modern dyes) which are colorfast, do not fade under light, cheaper to produce and less labour-intensive. Aniline (benzene with an NH2 group was extracted from Indigo (Anil) and provided the model for organic chemists who developed dyes in the late 19th century. Today, dyes of any hue can be chemically designed and produced using synthetic chemistry. Nevertheless, the use of old plant-based dyes, and dying with Indigo may be of interest within a more "green approach" to life. However, cultivating large areas with any kind of plant (mono-cropping) is not generally advisable.
    Nil-aeveriya is still used, in combination with Keekirindiya (Eclipta alba) in hair-oils for produing "neelakesha", or blue hair, considered an attribute of beauty in South Asia. It has also been used as an anti-inflammatory anelgesic. Indigofera tinctoria, Image
    Ipomoea aquatica
    ( Water Morning-Glory, Marsh-glory, swamp cabbage, water spinach)
    කංකුන්, කංකුං, කන්කුන්
    kalambi, Karemu Nalikam, vallikkoti, Sarkaraivalli Etymology of the name is unclear; This is a valuable leafy vegetable used in South Asia. It is a rich source of vitamins, amino acids and anti-oxidants with many health benefits, . Image and write-up
    The humble Kankung of our villages.
    Ipomoea asarifolia, Ipomoea pes-caprae Bim Tamburu,Bin Tamburu - Carkkaraivalli- -
    Ipomoea batatas (Sweet potato, yams) Bathala. at least five traditional species known in Sri lanka - more modern cultivars. - pavala- carkkaraivalli, This yam is NOT related to the potato family. Flowers are similar to those of morning glory (ipomea family). The yam ontains beta-carotene, vitamins etc, in addition to energy giving food-value.
    "Patata" (Spanish), or "Batata" is reputed to come from the Carribian, where the name "batata" was used, It was introduced to Sri lanka and Asia probabaly by the Portuguese. "Batata → Bathata → bathala". The Tamil "pavala" is also most likely from "Patata → Pavala". The common potato (sinhala "arthaapal" ← "erdapfel") also got its name from "batata → patata", and was brought to Europe (circa 1540) by Spaniards raiding the Andes, Peru, Colombia etc. The claim that "bathala" is from the sinhala words "bath-ala"- i.e., "rice-yam", has no basis.
    Although an introduced yam, bathala is now a part of village tradition. A "raban pada" (rural drum beat) goes as: Punchi Bathala Gaeta Thumba Kola.... Lin Watakara Bahina Bathala.
    Ipomoea bona-nox, Ipomea Alba, Caloniction Bona-nox (Moonflower) Chandrakaanthi- Gulchandani- nagamughatei Mornign glory family
    Ipomoea hederacea (ivy-leaved morning glory) Krishnabeeja, nilkaelum krishnabeeja kodikkakkattan Climber-creeper. Very poisonous seeds. Goonatilleke et al, Peradeniya have studied this plant. Image
    Ipomoea jucunda (a morning glory) Etambiriya, Aeta-ambiriya, Aetamiriya - - Climer-creeper. poisonou seeds.
    Ipomoea mauritania (Giant potato) Kiribadu ala, Kiribadu, කිරිබදු - Palmudamgi, Nelli kumbalu Images and write up It is used in sinhlala dmedicine in treating Tuberculosis. The sinhala name Kiribadu has been used in Indian Ayurvedic texts and the "ala" is claimed to be an aphrodisiac.
    Ipomoea nil (morning glory) Tel Kola, Thel Kola, Neelakuntha Kalanjani. Krishnabeeja - sirikki,kakkattan, Kotikkakkattan, Sirikki, Jigiri vidai Blue to white ornamental flowers on slender bean-like creeper. Seeds are black or brown.   Image and write up
    Ipomoea obscura Tel Kola - cirutali, kuruvilatcumi -
    Ipomoea pes-caprae (Goat's Foot) Bin-thambura
    An ipomoea which can grow right on the beach.
    - vilattaru, attukkal,
    (The name "adampu" has not been used for this plant, as stated in an erroneous internet blog.))
    Attampana (Adampana)
    Ipomoea pes-tigridis Divi adiya, Divi Pahauru vyaghranakhi- punaikkirai -
    Ipomoea tribula Waha Thella, Vaha Thella - - -
    Ipsea speciosa Nagameru Ala,naga Maeru ala, NagaaMaeru Ala - - Ground Orchid endemic to SL. see Christie Alwis: "beautiful Orchids
    Isatis indigotica (Chinese Woad, Dyer's-woad) Mahanil aevariya, cheena aevariya - - Contains the plant dye Indigo (Indican and isatin B), and native to China (chinese name: Da qing ye). antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory. Leaves and roots are effective against flu, encephalitis, measles, hepatitis, and mumps and claims have been made for use against H1N1-flu.
    Ixora coccinea
    Family: Rubiaceae
    Yelloow Ixora, Jungle flame Red Ixora, Jungle Jeranium
    There is a large number of Ixoras- There are about 400 species spread from Africa to India.
    Ixora macrothyrsa, Ixora nigricans, Ixora notoniana, Ixora parviflora, Ixora pavetta etc.
    ela-Rat Mal
    Ixoras freely produce loose, corymb-like cymes, 2-5" across of red, orange, pink, or yellow flowers. The flowers are used in "pideni", that is, in offerings used for exorcizing spirits in Low-country village "bali, thovil". The name Ixora itself may have arisen from "Ieswara", the Hindu Godhead.
    - kullai,vedtci used in hedges, ornamental plants, gardens etc.
    Ixora jucunda Elarath Mal - kullai,vetci, (udappu, painkorai are other varieties) see Ixora. coccinea

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Jasminum angustifolium Wal Pichcha, Val Samanpichcha, Saman pichcha vanamalli- asphota kattumullai, Nitykalyani ? This flower, and Jasminum grandiflorum play a central role in Buddhist and Hindu temple floral offerings, garlands etc.
    A scandent semi-shrubby climber with glabrous stems but the twigs pubescent; leaves simple, opposite, exstipulate, very variable on the same plant.
    Jasminum grandiflorum Saman Pichcha, Pichcha - picci Buddhist and Hindu temples use these flowers in abundance.
    A climbing shrub with green stems; leaves opposite, odd-pinnate.
    Sathpethi-dae-saman or Gandhaneeliya is mentioned by Clough p153
    Jasminum malabaricum Pichcha - mullai -
    Jasminum sambac (Arabian Jasmine, bell of India)
    Oleaceae (Jasmine family)
    See Sambac-jasmine varieties
    Gaeta pichcha, sithapushpa madan mogra ? kodimalli, Kundumalli, malligai The flowers are used in Buddhist temples, ceremonial garlands etc. It is the national flowers of Indonesia (Jasminum sambac) The name Sithapushpa has been used for "pichha" and also for "Katarolu" in older textes.
    A sub-erect shrub with pubescent young branches; leaves simple, opposite, membranous. Note the "double-petal" effect in the flower. Image and write up
    More on gaeta-pichcha
    Juglans regia (walnut) Aettakottam Akschota - No tropical species. The sinhalese name "Aetakottam" is not very well known and may be an adaptation from the sanskrit Akschota"
    Old English: walhhnutu is wealh (foreign) + hnutu (nut). Etymologically it "meant the nut of the Roman lands (Gaul and Italy) as distinguished from the native hazel" according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
    Walnuts are very popular due to its alleged ability to reduce blood cholesterol. The finely powdered bark is used in ayurvedic medicine for bleeding gums and as a mouth rinse. It is used in cosmetics for dentifrice, tooth powder, mouth rinses, deodorants and chewing gums.
    Justicia betonica Sudu Purukmal - - A.-
    Jatropha curcuras (physic nut, big purge nut, Moghul castor-oil plant)
    Image and write up
    Weta Endaru, Vaeta Erandu, Parsi Erandu dravanti, kanana eranda, musikaparni, parvataeranda, vyaghraeranda- atalai,eliyamanakku, kattamanakku Jatropha is a small tree or large shrub, which can reach a height of three to five meters under normal conditions, and as much as eight to ten under favorable conditions. It has a sticky opalescent juice; leaves simple, alternate. Medicinal (purge) appications in traditional treatments. It is a multi-purpose tree with myriad traditional uses. It gives cooking salt from the ashes of the roots and branches, food garnish from stewed or steamed leaves, fuel from fruit hulls and shells, dyes and tannins from leaf juice and ashes, and wool spinning and textile manufacture from the oil. The bark contains a wax composed of a mixture of melissyl alcohol and its melissimic acid ester. The oil is used as fish poison and pesticide, leaf extracts have been effective in controlling fungal pathogens. The latex is antibiotic against Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogens. Thus the residue obtained after extraction of the oil can be used as a pesticde and fertilizer.
    Its most important modern application is in the production of Bio-diesel,biofuel, with four kilograms of seed geing required for one liter of oil. For instance, Canadian companies have set up plantations in Ghana to produce bio-diesel, and also gain Carbon credits. German-Kenyan study on Jatropha concludes that the only Jatropha plantation model that appears profitable for smallholders within a reasonable timeframe (less than ten years) is growing the trees as fences.
    Jatropha gossypifolia Rath Endaru - adalai-
    Jatropha multisydu Mayurapada Endaru - - Medicinal. -
    atropha podagrica Vishakumba, Wishakumba - - -
    Jonesia Asoca, J. Asoka Diya Rathmal - - -
    Justicia adhatoda Adhathoda attarusha- adathodai -
    Justicia botanica Sudu Puruk - - A shrub, 0.5-1.5 m tall with erect, cylindrical, glabrous stems, swollen and purple above the nodes.
    Justicia gendarussa, Adhatoda subserrata 'Variegata (Verigated water willow) Kalu Vaeraniya - karunocci Shrub, about 1 meter tall. Medicinal uses of the bark. The leaves are usually green, but may become white, yellow or mixed.

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Kaempferia galanga, c.f.,Knoxia zeylanica Inguru Piyali, Singuru piyali - kacholum A small aromatic plant. Dried parts are used in chewing, herbal medications etc. The word "piyali" is used in Sinhala any pod that splits into two. Also "piyali karanava" is spliting into twos.
    Kalanchoe laciniata Akkapana hemasagara- parnabija kkattukkalli, ranakalli -
    Kalanchoe pinnata, Cotyledon pinnata, Bryophyllum pinnatum (The air plant) Akkapana asthibhaksha- Mallakulli, Runakkalli, viranakkalli, irankall It is a small plant whose leaves, when crushed, are believed to drive away serpents. Even a single leaf can develop young plantlets, send out shoots and grow.
    It is applied to wounds and contusions. It is said to prevent swelling and discolouration and heal wounds. The juice of the leaves is given internally for kidney stones etc. Used in asthma cures as well (no substantiated experimental basis for many such claims). Images and write up -
    Kandelia rheedii Kadol - Kandal SERUKADOLA (Cherukkandal) Vaetagandara (Vaddakandal) Monarakadola (Mannakandal) Naedunkadola (NaddanKandal)
    Kendrikuia walkeri,Osbeckia wakeri Val Bo~vitiya, Wal Bovitiya - - -
    Kokoona zeylanica Kokum - - bark used in indegenous medicine. IUCN red listed.

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Lagenandra praetemissa (de Wit) Kethala - - Threatened species listed in IUCN red list. Other Lagenandra species are L.erosa, L.jacobseni, L.koenigii, L.lancifolia, L.thwaitesii, L.bogneri
    Lagenaria siceraria Diyalabu katutumbi- tiktalabu suraikai, sorakkai A species of Labu gourd is hollowed and dried, and used as a receptacle for carrying Palm toddy by the traditional toddy tapper who climbs up coconut trees which are tapped. The receptacle was known as "Labu-kaetaya".
    Languas galanga Kaluwala - - -
    Lannea coromandelica Hik ajasringgi- udi, anaikarai Hikkandiya (Sittandi),   Hikgoda (Thikkodai)
    Lantana camara
    Verbenaceae family.
    According to N.D.R. Weerawardane and J. Dissanayake (Forest Dept., Sri lanka)
    "Lantana camara is a plant introduced to Sri Lanka in 1926 through the Royal Botanic gardens of Sri Lanka. Currently a major weed found throughout the country, it has invaded natural ecosystems particularly when open conditions are prevalent. This species is commonly found in dense stands along roadsides and abandoned lands. It is a fast-spreading, thicket-forming, perennial shrub and is somewhat shade tolerant. The weed has invaded the Udawalawe National Park, which is a leading elephant sanctuary of the island, significantly reducing the grazing lands available for the elephants. It has also spread in forest plantations and degraded natural forests interfering with natural regeneration. The spread is influenced by birds eating the fruits. Manual methods are somewhat successful in controlling this grass"
    Gandapana -
    Name probably arose from the aromatic (ganda) character of the plant.
    - puchedi, arippu, Unnichedi - Lantanas have aromatic flower clusters (called umbels) containing a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets.
    Horticulturists have produced many hybrids, while Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family. Many of them have insecticidal or fungicidal properties. The very ripe seeds may be eaten.
    Lantana indica Gandapaana, Baloliya - nativaricceti, kutampai -
    Laportea interrupta, Fleuriya interrupta (wood nettle) Val Kahambiliya
    Image etc
    - perunkanchori The leaves are covered with tiny, stinging hairs, which cause intense itching. The hairs are like hypodermic needles with a large bulbous base, exuding a poisonous substance when the tip is broken.
    Lavandula angustifolia(common Lavender) Laevandtha, Lavandha, Gal Kapparawalli
    The name `Lavandha' is an adaptation of `Lavender'. Gal Kapparawalli is also used for Lavanmdula carnosa
    The plant is not natural to Sri Lanka; it has been introduced by horticulturists, and grows in cool dry ares.
    Brahmasuvarcala- - Mediterrenian aromatic plant important in perfumery and even culinary applications. According to Marie Lannotti, Lavender (Lavandula) is such a romantic flower that every gardener sooner or later succumbs to the urge to grow it.
    Lasia spinosa Kohila Abhiru - A stout, spiny, marshy plant with a creeping, spiny rootstock.   Picture
    The sharpness of the "kohila" spines is the basis of a sinhala proverb: Kimbulage dathen beerunath kohila katuven beerenna baehae.
    Lawsonia inermis, L. spinosa
    (Henna, campire)
    madayantika, ragangi, sakachera maroodaniei, Marudhaani This is the Henna plant which produces a deep burgandy dye used in India and the middle east for decorating the body etc.
    Much branched shrub, the lateral branches 4-gonous often ending in a sharp point;leaves simple, opposite, exstipulate, small
    Henna Plant
    Leea indica (Bandicoot berry) Image and description Burulla
    Chatri, Kukkurajihva, Samudraka- ottanali,niyakku, Nalawa An Ayurvedic medicinal plant. Believed to be helpful in curing hemorrhoids. In Sri lanka it is cooked and eaten with `Heenati haal' (type of rice) for hemorrhoids, intestinal worms etc.
    Lens culinaris (Red Lentils, Dahl) Mansoor Parippu, masoor Parippu - Paasi Paruppu This is the most sought after form of "Parippu" or Dahl. See also "Thora-Parippu", under Cajanus cajan
    Leonotis nepetaefolia Maha Yak Vanassa, Yakwanassa - ranaperi -
    Lepurandra saccidora Ritigaha - - -
    Leucaena leucocephla (Ipil Ipil)
    Family: Fabaceae
    Images and notes
    Ipil Ipil
    The name is believed to be from the Philippines, and may grow to 20-30 feet in a couple of years. Used in coconut plantations to fix nitrogen, instead of giricidia.
    There were few pests of leucaena due to the insecticidal properties of mimosine. However, following the rapid propagation of the leucaena i psyllid (Heteropsylla cubana) westward from the Caribbean across the Pacific in the 1980s, large areas of previously productive leucaena in the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia have been affected.
    Subabul, kababul (Hindi) tagavai Considered a valuable animal feed (forage) tree, as well as a souce of bio-mass. Grown in many countires in the South-Asian region, Java, Philippines, Mexico etc. Ipil-Ipil was infact introduced to the Philippines by the Spanish. i
    It has the draw-back of being a very invasive plant.
    Leucas biflora Vilanda vaenna, Vilandawenna - - -see Leucas Zeylanica
    Leucas aspera Thumba, see Leucas Zeylanica - tumpai
    Leucas indica Sudu Thumba - mosappullu -
    Leucas zeylanica
    Ceylon slitwort. mint-related plant.
    Family : Labiatae
    Gata thumba, Gaeta-thumba, Gaetathumba kola "Dronapusha" is used for Lecus aspera, a closely related species of "thumba" Thumbai, Thumpai, Thungum. The closely related Leucas aspera is common in south India. Leucus Indica is "mosappullu" in Tamil. L. zeylanica occurs in various habitats, often on sandy soils, paddy-field dams, waste places, road-sides from the lowland up to 1,000 m altitude. It is eaten mixed with other leaves in a "mallum" (cooked salad) in Sri lanka. It is used in food, soups ("kaenda"), in poultices, and in Ayurveda.
    Gaeta-thumba figures in a well known rural sinhalese drum beat (raban padha):
    Punchi Bathala Gaetathumbakola, ..., Linwatarkara bahina Bathala.
    Leucus Indica is "sudu thumba" in Sinhala and "mosappullu" in Tamil.
    Limonia acidissima, Feronia limonia, Feronia elephantum,
    Schinus limonia (Wood apple)
    Divul, Diwul, Dimbul, Givul (?) kapitthah narivila Images and write up
    Dimbulaagala, Dimbulgoda, Divulpitiya etc., are common place names. The name " Givul" has been used in the medieval Sinhalese text "Raajaratnaakaraya".
    The ripe fruit pulp can be made into jams, or into a Delicious drink, where the jaggery of the Kithul-palm tree is used in Sri lanka.
    It is claimed that: "The fruit is much used in India as a liver and cardiac tonic, and, when unripe, as an astringent means of halting diarrhea and dysentery and effective treatment for hiccough, sore throat and diseases of the gums. The pulp is poulticed onto bites and stings of venomous insects, as is the powdered rind." -
    Limonia pentaphylla Ve kurundu, Velkurundu (?)
    - - plant with small white fragrant flowers-
    Limnocharis flava Diyagova, Diyagowa - - The vegetable contains relatively high levels of Ca, Fe and carotenes. The leaves of L. flava are also collected for household consumption in Bangladesh Java etc -
    Lionicera Caprifolium, L.-japonica, L- sempervirens (Honeysukels) Paeni-kaeralli Amirtha - Honeysuckle is used in herbal cough medicines, fever and even in an H1N1 (swine) flu preparation
    Lippia nodiflora Hiramana Daetta - poduthalai (?) -
    Litsea longifolia (Lauraceae) Rathkeliya - - This is is a medium tree found in the Sinha Raja. It is in the IUCN red list. The tender leaves are beautifully red colored. Butterfly larvae like them.
    Description and photos from Dr. Shanta Abeywickrema, Sep-2010
    from the sunday observer, May 17th, 2009. The tree is often claimed to be of no known economic use, but there has not been adequate phytochemical studies. One would expect it to be similar to e.g., Litsea Japonica which has proved to be of great interest.
    Lobelia nicotianifolia Val Dunkola, Wal dumkola - kattupugaiyilai -
    Luffa acutangula (Ribbed gourd) Vaetakolu amara kirutavetanai, pekankai,pirkku, maruluvikam, Peerkangai Popular vegetable with medicinal applications: Ribbed-gourd-shrimp curry
    Luffa cylindrica Niyan Vaetakolu - melukupirkku, pontukapirkku see also 'kalu wetakolu, Momordica cylindrica
    Lumnitzera racemosa (Mangrove) Beriya - Tipparethai -
    Lumnitzera littorea (Mangrove) Beriya - - -
    Lycopersicon esculentum Thakkaali - pennacikam, pennakicacceti -
    Lycopodium crenum (club moss species)
    Badal vanassa, Vil vanassa - - It is used indoor and outdoors as an ornamental plant, and to filter toddy. It is supposed to be a cockroach repellant. Vil haedaya is also a related species-
    Lycopodium phlegmaria Maha Haediya - - A pendulous epiphyte 15cm long, dichotomously branched, always stramineous; leaves close, spreading or ascending, ovate or ovate-lanceolate.-
    Lycopodium squarrosum Kuda Haediya - - -

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    Macrotyloma uniflorum, Dolichos biflorus (Hotse gram, cowpea)
    Family: Fabaceae
    --> -->
    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Maba buxifolia, Diospyros ebenoides Kosterm (Bantulino Bonsai, sea ebony) kalu-habaraliya, Kalu habaraliya - Irambali, Tella alli
    The name "Tella alli" is used in the Andra form of Tamil ("andara demala"), closely related to Telegu.
    This tree (Ebenaceae) is mentioned in B. Clough's 1892 dictionary. This is an ebony/pasimmon/satinwood group member and found in Sri lanka's dry zone. It is also a popular Bonsai plant (Bantulino Bonsai). Photos of Maba buxifolia from the Ampare' region, collected in Sept. 2010 (courtesy Dr. Shantha Abeyawickrama) are available. Maba buxifolia 1   Maba buxifolia 2
    Description from Andra Predesh
    a Bantulinao Bonsai
    Thwaites(1864) recognized three varieties, Maba buxifolia var. ebenus Thw., var. microphylla Thw., and var. angustifolia Thw., and claimed that these three varieties were closely related or connected together by intermediate forms thereby representing a variable species with broad limits. Kostermans (in 1981) named these varieties as Diospyros ebenoides Kosterm., Diospyros nummulariifolia Kosterm . and Diospyros rheophytica Kosterm. respectively.
    Thus a variation of this plant, with smaller leaves, and more supple than a tree, is probably
    Maba buxifolia var. microphylla Thwaites
    We have a specimen from Dr. Shantha Abeywickrama: This should be compared with the African variety in the nummularia subspecies:
    Diospyros nummularia Brenan
    Currently, we have no images of Diospyros rheophytica Kosterm.

    The semi-climber versions of Maba buxifolia have no well-established sinhala names. Judging by what local correspondents have indicated, it may have patois names like "Vael-habaraliya" වැල්-හබරලිය, or "kōtu habaraliya". Here "kōtu" means "twig-like" in Sinhala, with the "o" sound as in bōnus", and that does indeed describe the plant better than the word "vael".
    Note that the name is "- habaraliya" and not "habarala". The name "Habarala" is loosely used in Sinhala for
    Taro-like plant varieties of Alocasia, Colacasia and Xanthosoma. see Habarala
    Macaranga peltata Keanda - - vattakkanni, vattattamarai The leaves are used to wrap jaggery, haelapa and other sweetmeats. A small tree with stout, green branchlets covered with a glaucous bloom and marked with large leaf and stipule scars when young; leaves simple, alternate, very large, 22.5 cm long,broadly ovate.-
    Maclura pomiferaOsaga orange, Hedge apple
    Mulberry family
    Image and discription Named after the American Indian tribe 'Osaga'.
    Not found in Sri lanka (as far as we are aware); if you observe it please write to - - Valued for its wood A small tree that can be grown in Sri Lanka, but it is not known in SL. It is used in the USA as a hedge plant, and in the great Plains for soil conservation. Trees bear the big, bumpy fruits (not edible, or barely edible) known as Osage oranges. The seeds are edible. This tree is not related to the citrus.
    This type of pea has as much nutrients as `parrippu' (Dahl), and unlike Dahl (lentils), it may be grown quite easily in Sri Lanka, and can be harvested in three months. Horse-gram sprouts are also eaten.
    Kulatha Kala
    The cowpea is mentioned in Ayurveda and taken as a warm soup for coughs, rheumatism, peptic ulcers and other ailments.
    Kananm (Kaanam), Kollu-parappu Small scale cultivation in Uva province and in the Vanni.
    The horse gram needs more soaking than lentils. Then it can be cooked in a pan by heating with onions, egg plant, Maldive fish, seasonings and a dash of coconut oil. It can also be eaten lioke green gram (Mung aeta). -
    Madhuca longifolia, Bassia Longifolia, Madhuca latifolia, Madhuca fulva (Honey tree) Mee, madupa, Meepa, මී ගහ

    There are several types of very similar looking Mee varaieties. The seeds are used to extract "mee thel" (oil), while the flowers are eaten and also used in herbal drinks. All parts of the tree are used in herbal medicinal preparations. See the write up in a publication by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore: Madhuca species, images and discussion
    madhuka iluppai, இலுப்பை iluppai ennai

    The name Madhupa-theetha is mentioned in the Mahavamsa as the harbour of entry of the Maagha invaders. The Magha invasion was characterized by unparallelled brutality, terminating the Anuradahpura period, as well as conversion of even the place names directly into Malayalam forms. Thus Meepathota was directly replaced by இலுப்பை க்கடவை i.e., Illupaikadavai, Giranikka by Killinochchi, கிளிநொச்சி etc. Such names have existed along side the Sinhalese names. After the rise and fall of Sankili, the Portugeues, the Dutch and the arrival of Malabar Tamils (to work the tobacco and other crops, Dutch period) and english survey maps, the tamilized names began to take firmer hold. With the diffusion of Tamil usage along the coast, the form "Illupaikadavi" has gained prominance over "meepathota". This was an important naval battle site during the LTTE wars. See Map of the North-Eastern front -Eelam war IV
    Place names referring to "Mee" Meegamuwa (Neerkozimpu)   (Negambo)
    Meepathota, Madhupatheetha   (Iluppaikadavai),
    Southern P: Meegaha-beraliya, Meepawala, Meepawela, Meepe, Meetiyagoda, meewalapataha,
    Sabara P: Meedeniya, Meegasthaenna, Meeduma, Meegahawela
    Uva P: Meegahawela;
    Western P.: Meegaspitiya, Meemana, Meerimulla, Meethotamulla,
    North-Western P.: Meegas-mulle-weva, Meegasweva, Meekandawewa,Meewellawa,
    Central P., Meepitiya etc.
    Madhuca indica Urulumee, Hurulu Mee - - -
    Malaluca leucadendron Lothsumbul, RothImbul - - -
    Mallotus eriocarpus Val Kappetiya, Wal Kappetiya - - -
    Mallotus tetracoccus Boo kenda, Bu Kaenda - - -
    Mangifera indica, Mangifera foetida Mee Amba, amba amra, sahakara Ma, Mamaram, Amiram, Mangai AMBAVATHTHANA (Ammivaittan) AMBAGAMA (Ampakamam), Ambagaskolla (Kokumarankuli)
    Mangifera zeylanica Atamba, Aetamba, amba Amara Mangai, (manga in Malayalam) It is said that Buddha himself rested and meditated with his fellow monks in the peaceful tranquility of lush mango groves in places such as Amrapali and Mahachunda.
    The sinhala ``amba" may have come from the pali word ``ambha", which is itself related to the Sanskrit "amara".

    mango trees are mentioned in the Mahavamsa (5th century CE) in referring to various historical events - e.g., arrival of Mahinda, during the time of Asoka.
    The Munnesvaram temple respected an ancient Sinhala Buddhist rite known as "Amba-vidamana" even up to the late 19th century, possibly related to the goddess Pattini treated as a Buddhist divine spirit. However, with the rise of Tamil Nationalism and Shaivisam (c.f., associated with Arumugam Navalaar), a Shiavite festival known as "Vettaitiruvilar" (i.e, hunting festival)came to be imposed at the Munnesvaram Temple, eradicating some of these symbols of quai-Buddhist practice. Further Saivite characteristics were added in 1947 by the inclusion of processions of 63 munis and dancing Shiva (Natesar). Similarly, efforts were taken to fell a Bo tree growing in the temple premises, in spite of the opposition of many local people who were Buddhists, as well as many Hindus (see also, Rohan Bastin: Domain of constant excess - plural worship at the Munneswaram Temples, Berghan Books, 2002).
    Manihot utilissima, Manihot esculenta (Manioc, Cassava, Tapioca) Man(g)nokka kalpakandah- darukandah maravaati, maravalli, al-vallik-kizhangu It is one of many plants which manufactures a type of cyanide to deter animals who might want to eat it. The cyanide is released as hydrocyanic acid and goes away with the water vapour when boiled. In Sri Lanka, manioc is never eaten with any ginger products, as it is claimed that this leads to poisoning. Manioc has a cyanogenic glucoside (CyG), which is decomposed by the enzyme Linamarase forming poisonous hydrocyanic acid (prussic aid), denoted by the chemical formula HCN. This was also the poison used in the suicide kuppi of the Tamil Tigers.
    The enzyme is released when the tubers are cut, or when the leaves of the plant are crushed. However, HCN volatilizes with steam when the tubers are boiled in an open pot. The HCN can also be leached out in a water tank for about two days, as done in Africa. (See RODNEY,D., et al., 1978, The effects of simple Processing on the cyanide content of Cassava chips, in J. Food Tech., T.P. 1, 13 : 299)
    Ginger contains compounds capable of releasing hydrocyanic acid from the glycoside ( e.g., Kodagoda N, Marcus V, Ambalavaner S. Some observations on the liberation of hydrogen cyanide from manioc. Proceedings of the Annual Sessions of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science 1973; 1: 38.). Hence it is best to avoid Ginger with Manioc, Gahala, Habarala, Hondala and other tubers which contain glucosid-type compounds.
    Manioc which contains B17 vitamin has also been claimed to be an anti-cancer agent. These are purely anecdotal unverified claims. see however Tapioca treatment for cancer , and Cynthiya Jayasuriya. Sunday Observer, July 2011
    Manilkara hexandra Palu rajadana- cappotta Paludohona (Palayadithona) Paluraajaweva (Palaiyatisirukkulam) Palugama (Palukamam) Sirirpalugama (Thirupalugamam)
    Manilkara zapota van Royen, Manilkara achras Fosb. Sapodilla - cappotta -
    Manilkara zapotilla Gilly Sapadilla - cimaiyiluppai -
    Mappia ovata rata-hinguru - - Clough p 152
    Marsdenia tenacissima
    Threatened species, IUCN red list
    Maruvadul, Muruwadul - - A large shrubby. twining plant with stout. bluntly angular. densely velvety and hairy branches leaves simple serv large. opposite. l5-l 7.5 cm long and nearly as wide, deeply cordate with rounded lobes at base.-
    Maytenus annua Naga Barana, naaga Barana - - -
    Maytenus emarginata ?Katukilla?, Katu-dang ? Kankera? kattangi Tree of shrubland or dry area. This is a scared trea in Tamil nadu. It is a small, compact tree, 3-5 m. high; young branches purple, often spiny, with leaves and flowers on the spines. common in open field in semi arid area. Very hardy plant. This has been mistakenly identified as Katupila which is also a thorny bush with white berries. The berries of Martenus E. are not as white. See Image
    Martynia diandra Naga-darana - - Reputed in Sri lanka to be a remedy for snake-bites.
    Medinila fuchsioides
    Family Melastomataceae
    Laenthaerum-mal, Lantharum mal - - Image and notes, Knuckles area-
    Melastoma malabathricum Maha Bovitiya - kadallai -
    Melia azadirachta Lunu Midella - tuttai, veppamaram, malaivembu -
    Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm) Pangiri thala, Paengiri thalaa ? - - Not native to Sri lanka, Mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. It contains eugenol (as also found in cloves). It is an antibacterial and it is also used in aromatherapy, herbal teas etc. Cream used in the treatment of genital or oral herpes. Images and write up
    Meliosma pinnata Ael Baedda - - -
    Memecylon edule, Memecylon umbellatum) Korakaha anjani- kaca The Korakaha (Memecylon umbellatum) is a lovely bush and it also has an antiseptic value. In the traditional paddy threshing floor, broomstick were made with Korakaha sticks-
    Memecylon grande Daedi Kaha - - -
    Mentha auricularia synonym of Pogostemon auricularius (L.) Haema-nilla - - Erect herb, leaves oblonmg, flowers red, mint family.
    Mentha haplocalyx (Corn Mint, Chinese mint) Kotu Minchi, Cheena minchi - - Used in Chinese herbal medicine, Corn Mint is a treatment for colds, and sore throats, mouth, and tongue and even toothaches and measles. It promotes sweating, break up congestion. It is also used to treat diarrhea, and even H1N1-flu Chinese herbal and swine flu (see article in the Hindu, Nov. 2009)
    Mentha piperita (Peppermint, curled mint) saera-Minchi, Paparamintha Paparamintha Pudina Used in medicine and in flavouring of foods: * Peppermint (active ingredient: menthol) has a soothing effect on irritant skin caused by hives, poison ivy, or poison oak, insect bite. * When applied to the forehead and temples reduces headache. * Peppermint is an effective decongestants, expectorant, soothing and calming for sore throats and dry coughs. * Peppermint help to relieve painful cramps as it relaxes muscles during menstrual periods in females. * Peppermint relaxes the muscles during digestion.. * reduce swelling and inflammation from bruises. * Used in pharmacy to disguise the unpleasant taste of other medicines.
    Mentha perilloides Ham Kollankola;
    however, Perilla ocymoides is Wal Kollankola?
    - - -sedative, mild purge
    Mentha sylvestris (Wild Mint) Minchi Pudina, Putiha Putina - Used in medicine and in flavouring of foods
    Merremia tridentata Heen Maaduvael - tirippanpul, auvaiyar kundal -
    Merremia umbellata Kiri maduvael - - -
    Mertensia dichtoma Vil kakilla, Vil Kaekilla - - Image
    Messua nagassarium (Iron wood) Naa, Na gaha.
    Ironwood, Messua nagassarium, is associated with many shrines to God Natha found in Sri lanka; examples being the 5th century Damingamuwa Natha devala (kalutara district, %th century), the Dodanwala devala (Kandy, Yatinuwara Maedapalaatha), more recent: Dambuluwana Sri Nagapushparamaya, Ratnapura (on the bank of the River Kalu Ganga
    nagakesarah- Peri See the discussion under the place name Nalluruva, Nallur. The tree is some times referred to as the National Tree of Sri Lanka.
    Mesua ferrea Na, Naa nagakesarah- nagapuspa nangu, cirunakappu Naaoya (Peraru), this is sometimes referred to as the national tree of Sri Lanka, and is svery similar to Messua nagassarium.
    Mesua Shorea, Doona congestiflora Nadoon, Naedun - Nirnaval?- large tree, typically found in Sri lanka's forests, including Sinha Raja.
    Mesua stylosa Suvanda

    This species has white flowers similar to mesua ferrea with a very pleasant smell. It is found grown in the Gampaha (Henarathgoda) Botanical Gardens and the Royal Botanical Gardens Peradeniya.
    - - Same family as the Naa tree. Walawwewatte swamp
    Michelia champaca Sapu, Ginisapu campaka- campanki, canpakam -
    Michelia nilagirica Wana Sapu, vana sapu - vanacampakam-
    Michania Scandens Maruvel, Maruvael - - -
    Micrcos paniculata Keheliya, Keliya - - -
    Micromelum ceylanicum wight, Micromelum minutum Val Karapincha, Karapincha - - Listed in the University of Miami Plant anatomy archive: Archived image and notes
    Milia azidarachta Hik-kohomba - Malai-vempu -
    Mimosa catechu Kihiri - Karuvel Kihiriwella (Kathiraveli) Kihirikanda (Kudiramalai)
    Mimosa cinerea, synonym Dichrostachys cinerea type of Andara - - see under Dichrostachys cinerea
    Mimosa octandraa rath-thana - - a red grass (B. Clough, 1896)
    Mimosa pudica
    Touch-me-not Plant
    Image and Note, Kew gardens
    Nidi Kumba.
    This is the 'common" nidikumba" of Sri Lanka.
    lajjalu- samanga,

    Used in Ayurveda.
    ilaccaki, tottalvati, Thotta-siningi An ornamental plant in the west. It is treated as a weed in Sri Lanka. The sensitivity of the plant is not due to existence of a `nervous system', but due to rapid movement of water from cells under a stimulus, exposing sharp thorns that deter cattle and other feeders.
    Mimosa pigra Lalith Gunasekera's article, 2011, with images and write up. family: Fabaceae
    Write uo and Images
    Yoda-Nidi-Kumba -? periya-ilaccaki,periya-tottalvati First recorded in Sl in 1997. This is slower to react to stimuli than mimosa pudica. It is a giant" species, and is considered to be very invasive. It forms dense, thorny impenetrable thickets particularly in wet areas.
    Mimusops elengi Moonamal Vakula, bakula, kesara magizha,magilam Mahiyapitiya (Mahiappitti) Vakulavaedda(Mahilaettuvaan)
    Mimusops indica Palu - Paalai Paludohona (Palayadithona) Paluraajaweva (Palaiyatisirukkulam) Palugama (Palukamam) Sirirpalugama (Thirupalugamam)
    Mirabilis jalapa Hendirikka - - pattiratci -
    Mischodon zeylanicus Thwaites Damana, Thammanna- - Thampanai Tree found in Sri Lanka and South India. The leaves of the tree are said to control serpents, and hence the name `damana' may arise from the sinhala meaning `control or subjugate'. The Tamil name may also have originated from it.
    There is a Thammanna vaetiya, or damana vaetiya in the Puttalam area, linked with Kuveni -first consort of Vijaya - by folklore, and mentioned in 15th century Kokila Sandesha kaavya. The modification into the form "thammana" has made some writers to mistake it with the word "Tammaennaa". A place name "Damana" is not uncommon, e.g., it is found near Dambulla (on the B294 road), in the eastern province etc. There is even a variety of coconut known as `damana pol' (see Dasnayake et al, J.Natn.Sci.Foundation Sri Lanka 2009 37 (2):99-109).
    Mitragyna Tubulosa Haelamba, Halamba bhumikadamba ? nirkadambai Haelambaweva(Salampaikulam ) Sunakaelambaweva (Sonakasalampaikkulam)
    Modeca palmata Passifloraceae.,adenia palmata, Granadilla hondala, Adenia hondala Hondala, Pothu-hondala Vidari Puli-vaaka?- Described in an 1813 French text. Recorded in Dassanayake and Fosberg, 1980. This is a poisonous plant (large climber in torpical forests). Juice of leaves and roots used externally for skin diseases. Images and write up
    Some varieties of Hondala are edible if boiled sufficiently to get rid of volatile poisonous acids which are generated from the Gulocsides contained in these tubers. Ginger contains linamarase-like compounds capable of decomposing the glucoside (e.g., see: Kodagoda N, Marcus V, Ambalavaner S. Some observations on the liberation of hydrogen cyanide from manioc. Proceedings of the Annual Sessions of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science 1973; 1: 38.). Hence it is best to avoid Ginger with Manioc, Gahala, Habarala, Hondala and other tubers which contain poisonous-acid-glucosides-type compounds.
    Mollugo cerviana Pathpadagam - parpaatakam -
    Mollugo spergula Theerapala, තීරපලා Dheera... Tirayaanti Hirikaenna (Thiraykkeani)
    Momordica charantia (bitter gourd, Karela)
    images and write up

    The gourd is eaten green, cooked in curry, or thinly sliced in a salad, or thinly sliced and slightly fried in oil with onions etc. Although it can also be eaten when it has started to ripen and turn yellowish, it becomes more bitter as it ripens. When the fruit ripens and turns orange and mushy, it is too bitter to eat.

    Karawila, Karavila, Karavalli
    Images and description

    Momordica charantia L, belonging to Cucurbitaceae family that has been used in the traditional health care world over; claims have been made as an anti-cancer agent and for the treatment of diabetes.
    In traditional herbal-medical use (diabetes, cholesterol lowering etc) powdered, dried fruit has been dosed in a range of 3-15 g/day. The fresh juice has been used at 50-100 mL/day, and a tea (kashaaya) of the fruit (about 3/4 cup per day containing less than 10g of the fruit). But clearly, this type of dosage specification is very inexact.
    karavella (Karav īra ?), Karavellakah;

    medicinal properties: Antileukemic Potential of Momordica charantia Seed, Soundrrajan et al, 2012

    "The ethnobotanical use of this plant is well documented. M. charantia has been reported to possess a number of diverse medicinal properties such as antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antifertility and abortifacient activity. Antigrowth properties of fractionated M. charantia whole plant extracts were first reported by West et al.]. Subsequently, a number of growth inhibitors have been isolated from M. charantia seeds and its antiproliferative activity has been demonstrated in a variety of tumor cell lines. M. charantia fruit extract and its components have also been shown to be cytotoxic to leukemic lymphocytes and induce anti-tumor activity in vivo".
    itaka-valli, pAgakkai, pakal, paval

    In Tamil Nadu, it is used in thoran/thuvaran (mixed with grated coconut) dishes, theeyal (cooked with roasted coconut) and pachadi (a medicinal food for diabetics). Curry, deep fried with peanuts or other ground nuts, and Pachi Pulusu, a soup with fried onions and other spices. A special preparation in Brahmins cuisine called pagarkai pitla a kind of sour koottu is very popular. Kattu pagarkkai is a karawila stuffed with onions, cooked lentil and grated coconut mix, tied with thread and fried in oil. In Konkan-Maharashtra, salted chopped bitter gourd is squeezed, removing its bitter juice to some extent.After frying this with different spices, less bitter and crispy preparation is served with grated coconut. The same method is used in Sri Lanka.
    See also under Niyangala (Glory Lilly). c.f., Pali Text society Dictionary, p.179, reg. wreath of karavīra flowers on a criminal ready for execution:

    Bitter melon can cause allergic reactions in some people. It is traditionally avoided by pregnant women as it can cause miscarriages, or for treating children, based on historical use. Bitter melon seeds contain momorcharin, shown to have antifertility effects in female mice and spermatogenesis inhibition in dogs, but not conclusively in humans.
    Momordica cylindrica (black ribbed gourd) Kalu wetakolu, Kalu vaetakolu - - Type of 'vaetakolu', with medicinal value. -
    Momordica dioica (spine gourd) Thumba Karivila bankreal ?- palupalagakalungai,palupakarkoti Images and write up Medicinal applications. presence of anti-oxidants etc.
    Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 115, Issue 1, 4 January 2008, Pages 61-66 -
    Monochoriahastata (arrowleaf Sida, false pickerel weed, Beal plant) Moodu awara Arusakara tankacci India and Sri lanka. Used in medicinal preparations. See Neelayadi Tailaya. Sri Lanka wetlands
    Morinda citrifolia Ahu achchhuka manjanatti, nuna Ahuvila (Nunavil)
    Morinda coreia Goda Ahu - nuna -
    Moringa oleifera (Drumstick Tree, horseradish tree ) Murunga sigru- sobhanjana murunkai, murungai The word "murunga" and the hindi "munga" may have a common etymological origin.
    A small legumenose tree, 3-8 metres tall, fast growing and hardy, with a leafy canopy of attractive tripinnate ferny foliage, appealing wherever it is planted. Small, waxy, creamy-white flowers resembling miniature orchids, form in clusters on terminal stems, followed by 20-30cm long round pods. Pods similar to drumsticks, as in its common name. The shell of the pod has 3 sections with a row of wing-edged, round, seeds.
    The names "Gandhaka", and Grajana are given by Clough, p153, p174 19th century Sinhala dictionary.
    A review of medical, nutritional and prophylactic properties, Trees for Life Journal: or In the trees-for-life journal itself
    It has been claimed that (see article by Tilak Fernando):   "the crushed seeds of Moringa is capable of attracting and sticking fast to bacteria and other viruses allowing them to be skimmed off or get trapped in filter beds. In developed countries water authorities use chemicals such as Aluminium Sulphate to solidify impure particles, which are then removed at treatment Works. In view of the scarcity of such chemicals, the latest discovery of Moringa tree, which is also known as the " Drumstick Tree", is a path breaking innovation to purify water in developing countries, at a cost of only a fraction of the conventional chemical treatment available today."
    Unfortunately, contrary to the above claim, Al2(SO4)3, contained in Alum, can be made from Bauxite or High-alumina clays, and is not at all scarce, and it is ~$100 per metric ton, and is currently much cheaper for mass-scale applications (e.g., for municiple water) than using Murunga seeds which are not available on a mass scale; the Al-salt can be recovered and reused. The spent-murunga seeds cannot be recoved, but holds much valuable water. However, this suggestion can be used in a decentralized manner, by a farming family which grows Murunga.
    The use of Murunga as an anti-malarial has also been proposed. See also Kathuru-murunga
    and Moodu-murunga
    Mucuna pruriens, Mucuna prurita (velvet bean or cowitch)
    Family: Fabaceae
    The English name is probabaly a corruption iof the Hindi Kiwanch
    Wanduru Me, Vanduru Mee- Atmagupta-, Kapikacchu punaikkali -
    Mucuna gigantia (Woody liana) Kana-Pus-Waela, Pus-wela Kana pus vaela - punaikkali A lartge Pus waela, ie.e, a type of woody liana. see also Entada pursaetha .
    Mugonia mystax Bu - Gemiya, BooGaemiya - - -
    Muehlenbergia viridissima Garudaraja - - -
    Munronia pinnata, Ophelia Chirata (Bitters), Bin Kohomba, Bim Kohomba - - -"Bim kohomba" means ''Kohomba which grows at ground level". A very small hardy shrub with unbranched stems 5 cm long.
    There is also a ``heen bin kohomba", i.e., a "thin" varaiety, Andrographis paniculata Heen Bim Kohomba
    Mununtingia calabura (Jamaican Cherry tree) Jaam gaha - - It has small sweet sticky fruits, juicy and full of tiny seeds, and small white flowers. They are a favourite with birds and bats and kids, who disperse the seeds. The leaves are covered with tiny sticky hairs. The tree grows fast, (up to 7-12m) and even in arid areas. May be useful for reforestation and for dendro-energy projects. Wikipedia
    Murraya exotica, Murraya paniculata (mock orange, Chinese box) Aetteriya,Etteriya - cimaikkonci, konci Ornamental plant; evergreen foliage, with pinnate leaves. These generally have 3 to 9 leaflets. Leaves are small and the foliage is fairly dense, and this plant is often grown as a bonsai tree
    Murraya koenigii Spreng.(curry leaves)

    Images and write up

    Its use in the diet has recently been claimed to lower cholesterol levels and type II diabetes (based on glucose levels in the blood), as demonstrated experimentally on mice.
    Am. J. Chin. Med. vol 34, p279 (2006)
    Curry leaf (Murraya koenigii Spreng.) reduces blood cholesterol and glucose levels in ob/ob mice.
    Xie JT, et al.
    Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA. write:
    Mice received daily injections of 80 mg/kg curry leaf extract for 10 days. The extract decreased blood cholesterol level from 277.6 +/- 16.6 mg/d (day 0) to 182.0 +/- 15.3 mg/d (day 10, p less than 0.01 compared with the change in vehicle group). The extract also significantly decreased blood glucose level from 387.0 +/- 15.6 mg/dl (day 0) to 214.0 +/- 26.6 mg/dl (day 10, p less than 0.01). In addition, body weight was reduced after extract treatment. Our data suggest that curry leaf may be proven to be of clinical importance in improving the management of high cholesterol level and type 2 diabetes.
    Karapincha, Kara pincha
    "Kara" part of the name may have come from the Sanskrit "Karasharka" or "Karapathra". "Kara", from the Sansrit, "to do", "to make", "to prepare", etc., gets carried into fr.cuire, "cocera" in Latin, Eng. cook, and even Dravidian languages like Tamil (kari) and Malayalam. The origin of the usage "pincha" is unclear (Bengalai is karipaththa, clearly related to the Sanskrit "Karapathra". Perhaps the name arose from "Karapuncha", i.e., the smaller-leaf variety, as opposed to a larger-leaf variety, is our surmise.
    Several other plants which carry the "karapincha related" names, or kari-veppilai name are listed in this website:
    Clausena dentata (dehi karapincha)
    Micromelum ceylanicum (val-karapincha)
    but are not necessarily connected with Murraya koenigii The plant Helichrysum italicum , (daisy family), found in the Mediterranean region is also called a "curry plant" because of its astringent leaves. However, it is not related to Karapincha.
    surabhinimba, kalasaka,karasharka, Karapathra, mahanimba, girinimba (i.e., mountain-neem)- Karuveppilai, kariveppilai (kari-veppu-ilai i.e.,karu= Curry, veppu=neem, ilai=leaf, கறி வேப்பிலை), karivempu. The word "curry', used as Kari as well as Karu in the Tamil name, may have come from the Sanskrit "Kara-sharka", and "kara-pathra". The Malayalam name is "Kariveppila". The plant is a useful condiment and it is also ornamental. Leaves are used to flavour south asian dishes.It is used with coconut milk and spices in Sri lankan cooking.

    In Sri lanka it is also consumed as a Kaenda, i.e., a broth taken at breakfast, and claimed to control blood cholesterol, diabetes etc. Finely chopped leaves are also incorporated into a Maellum, i.e., a mildly cooked salad, with other leaves like Mukunuvaenna, Gotukola etc.

    The shiny-black fruits are nutritious.
    An alkaloid, murrayacinine, and essential oils are found in karapincha. beta-caryophyllene and related essential oils are also found. (Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 17, 144, 2002; Phytochemistry, 21, 1653, 1982)
    The leaves, the bark and the roots are used as a tonic and a digestive aid. They are also used externally to cure eruptions and insect bites The green leaves and its tea are used in dysentery, and to stop vomiting.
    Musa paradisiaca Kesel, ramba kadali,- rambha tatam -
    Musa sapeintum Modan Kesel - - -
    Mussaenda frondosa Mussanda nagvalli- velli ilai -
    Mutingia calabura Jam, Jaaem Gaha - - -
    Myristica dactyloides Malaboda jatiphala- pattapanku -
    Myristica horsfieldia Puvangu, Puwangu - - see entry under Aglaia roxburghiana-
    Myristica fragrans Sadikka, Saadikka - jathikai-
    Myrtus canescens (Ceylon Gooseberry) Sitha Pera, seetha Pe~ra, සීත පේර - - -

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Nardostachys grandiflora or Nardostachys jatamansiNelumbo nucifera (Spikenard, Nard) jatamansi
    not native, hill country
    Narada, nalada Nardoil is used in perfumes, ayurvedic medicine Image and write up
    Nauclea orientalis (Leichhardt pine, Canary Cheesewood) Bakmee, Bakmi, bakini - - This is a tall tree with an attractive flower and edible fruit which is actually a collection of small fruits. The name "Bakmee" may simply mean "Big Mee" tree. How ever, the "mee tree"(Bassia longifolia, Fam. Sapotaceae.) has no botanical relationship to this tree (Rubiaceae). The name bakini may be a modification of Bakmee
    Images and write up   Flowers stick out collectively, forming a spiky ball
    Rubiaceae family (Linnaeus in 1762). Other names may be: Cephalanthus orientalis, Sarcocephalus orientalis, Mitragyna parvifolia, Bancalus orientalis, Kuntze. Nauclea cordata. Nauclea missionis.
    The bark was sometimes used for dying the cheevara (robe) of Buddhist monks.

    We thank Prof. Sirisena Samarakoon for some helpful messages. -
    Nelumbo nucifera (Sacred Lotus, oriental lotus) Nelun kamala, arvinda tamarai, ambal, Sivapputamarai, Nelunweva (Nelukulam), Nelumvila, etc., are typical place names.
    Wikipedia write up The Nelum flower is a constant literary and lyrical theme in Sinhalese. Amaradeva's Sihina nelum mala is well known. The "sesath" motive in Sinhalese sculpture is also based on the Nelum flower. Sunday Observer August 2008 on the sacred lotus
    Neolitsea cassia, (Laurus Cassia) Kudu Duvala, Davul Kurundu, Dawul Kurundu - - Also, Laurus Cassia- "It is the Dawul Kurundu of the Cingalese, the Can-nella Matto of the Portuguese, and the Wilde Canule of the Dutch.-Marshall, Phil. Trans. 1817."
    "he odour of the bark termed cassia-bark is similar to that of cinnamon, but fainter; and the taste is more pungent, but less agreeable: appearing slimy when much chewed. It is of a cinnamon colour, in pieces more or less quilled, but the quills are not inserted in one another : they are about one tenth of an inch in thickness; which break with a short, close fracture, and show it to consist of two parts; the inner darker and of a fine texture, and the outer paler and somewhat spongy. When these are separated, the inner part has all the sensible qualities of real cinnamon, only more pungency, whilst the outer has scarcely either flavour or taste: and I am of opinion, that the allowing this cellular integument, from which the cinnamon is freed, to remain in the bark termed cassia, constitutes the chief cause of the l Annals of Phil. vol. x. p. 245."
    Nepenthes distillatoria (ptcher plant, venus fly trap) Bandura, Benduru - - See: Carnivorus plants in SL Venus fly trap (Dionaea Muscipula), Cats paw (Uncaria Tomentosa) etc., are similar carnivorous plants but NOT natural to Sri Lanka.
    Nepeta Indica syn. Anisomeles indica (L.) Kuntze (cat mint) -Osthapala, vaikuntha, mahadrona pēymaruṭṭi - See also Nepeta cateria; the Nepeta family of herbs havge a mildy sedative effect on humans, and stimulates domestic cats.
    Nepeta Cateria (Catmint, Catnip)
    Write up and Images
    Gaeta minchi ගැට මින්චි? Kuppameniya, කුප්පමේනිය ?
    Osthapala, vvaikuntha, mahadrona -pēymaruṭṭi The name Kuppamenia is also confusingly used for Acalypha Indica (Indian nettle), in Sri Lankan local languages. The word "kuppa" in "Kuppamenia", means "stimulated", or "roused", Catnip is attractive to cats, but it is not common inSri lanka. It is Acalypha Indica, which has a similar reaction to cats, and known as "Kuppamenia". The dried powder is available in pet stores, and used by cat trainers.
    The name, "gaetaminchi", rarely used, is probably derived from Portuguese/Spanish Romance sources: "Gato", i.e., Cat. and has nothing to do with the Sinhalese word "Gaeta", ගැට. This Mediterranean plant may have been introduced by Western invaders, as it is not native to Sri Lanka. The Latin name, Nepeta for Catmint, is said to come from Nepi, a town near Rome.
    It is an aromatic, psychedelic plant containing nepetalactone, a terpenoid. Nepetalactone can be extracted from catnip by steam distillation of the plant. It was used as a herbal tea, and as a calming agent for hyper-active children and patients in earlier times. Cats detect it through their olfactory epithelium,where the nepetalactone binds to one or more olfactory receptors where it probably mimics a cat pheromone, found in the urine of Tom cats. The genus "Nepta" has some 250 species and all of them have various "Catmint-like" actions.

    Catnip, like Maduru thala, repels mosquitos, and has many applications in herbal medicine.
    Nephelium lappaceum Rambutan - - -
    Nephelium longanum, c.f., Euphoria longan Mora - Nurai ? Moragolla (Nuraichchoalai )
    Neptunia oleracea, Desmanthus natans Jalakumba alambusa- sundaikkirai, kuntikkirai Kumbakuliya (Chundikuli)
    Nerium oleander, Nerium indicum (Oleander)
    Kaneru, arali-kaduru Karavir arali, kanaviram This is a very poisonous garden plant which may have been introduced to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese or the Arabs. The ancient city of Volubilis in Morocco took its name from the Latin name for the flower. The flower has some similarities to the Araliya flower, and its poisonous qualities are similar to the strychnine-bearing "Kaduru species. Hence the Tamil and sinhala names invoking "Arali", or "Arali-kaduru" may have arisen from that association. The origin of the name "Kaneru" is probably from its Hindi name. and to what extent the names Kaneru, Arali-kaduru are used in SL etc., are unknown to us. There is a tendency to use the English name "oleander" in Colombo horticultural circles.
    It has been used in skin problems and in Ayurvedic applications. However, it contains cardiac poisons, and extreme care should be used. Its leaves and all parts of the plant have been used as suicidal poisons (and for female infanticide in Tamil Nadu in) India and in the Mediterranean countries.   Images and write up
    Niraviliyaa orkid - - Hooker, Muilar Bomboise, and others were early botanists who studied Ceylon orchids. See the article by Fernando and Ormerod, and under Orchids
    Nicotiana tabacum Dumkola - pugaiyilai,Phaielai Tobacco was ntroduced to Japanaya (Jaffna) peninsula, then known then as "Waeligama" (Valikamama), by the Dutch who brought Malabar Indians from south India as labour for the Tobacco plantations.Thus much of the customs (e.g., Thesavalam), the Tamil language and religious practices used in the Jaffna peninsula are from the Malabar coast. Even in the 1930s, British writers referred to the "Malabar Tamils" and the Hill-country Tamils (brought in as labour to grow Tea) as two distinct groups.The Colombo Tamils were the wealthier upper-caste Tamils who migrated to the south to work for the successive imperial administrations. They were mostly converted christian Vellalas and led the Tamil nationalist movements of Ponnambalam in the 1930s, and Chelvanayagam et al., in the post-independent Ceylon, with the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kaschi (Tamil soverignist party). It was formed in 1949, presented in English as the Federal party, and as a separatists party in Tamil writings. See Dr. Jane Russell, Communal Politics under the Donoughmore Constitution, Tissara Prakasakyo, 1982
    Nigella sativa (black fennel seed, Black cumin, Black caraway, Black seed)
    Family: ranunculaceae
    some 14 species in the genus Nigella.
    kaluduru, kalu duru
    common Sri lankan spice used in curry powders etc.
    Images and write up Chemistry
    Medicinal and Phamacological Potential of Nigella sativa: A Review Island newspaper article on Kalu Duru, 30-12-2009
    kaalajira, Sthulajiraka, (Kalunji in Hindi)
    Ayurvedic preparations named "Niriyana Churna, Kinkiyana Gutiki" use Nigella sativa.
    Kaluduru mixed with honey and crushed garlic is used for Asthmas.
    karum-cheerakam, karunjilakara This is a spice known from antiquity, identified in tombs of ancient Pyramids. It has been mentioned by Avicenna. This plant is not native to Sri Lanka, but Nigella Sativa products are sold by several companies in Sri Lanka that sell ayurvedic and herbals, and by Moslem (Unani) physicians who have a very high regard for it. It is used in Indian cooking, for instance, the seeds are put on naan bread. Kalunji (Karunji) is described in Moslem medicine; and in Ayurvedic texts. Many claims have been made, but efficacy against diabetes, cancer, reduction of cholesterol etc., has not been established by suitable double-blind experiments. Chemical Composition - An active ingredient is claimed to be Nigellon. Seeds contain terpinols, thymoquinone is an important ingredient, The seeds have a fatty oil rich in linoleic acid (50 60%), oleic acid (20%), eicodadienoic acid (3%) and dihomolinoleic acid (10%). The Glucoside Melanthin Metarbin (toxic) and bitter substances . The use of Kalonji in significant doses and prolonged use might be harmful. See Journal of Etnopharmocology, Volume 31, Issue 3, March 1991, Pages 283-289 article by Dr. K. H. Tennakoon et al., of the Faculty of medicine, Colombo.
    See also Journal Ayub Med. College, 2008
    Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, Nyctanthes arbortristis (night-flowering jasmine) Sepalika sephalika, Parijath- paricatam, parijata Oleaceae family.
    Grown in Buddhist-temple gardens in Sri Lanka. Note that Jasminum oriculatum is also referred to as Sepalika. It flowers in the night, and the flowers are shed in the morning, and hence the name "arbor-tristis -sorrowful tree". This should be distinguished from Night-blooming jasmine or Rae-manamali.
    Flowers are fragrant, with a five- to eight-lobed white corolla with an orange-red centre; produced in clusters of two to seven. This flower is the official flower of the state of west Bengal. It a part of Hindu mythological literature. The leaves have been used to treat sciatica, arthritis, fevers, and as laxative. Ratnasooriya et al have studied (2005) its use (common among by Buddhist monks) as a sedative: Sedative Effects of Hot Flower Infusion of Nyctanthes arbo-tristis. on Rats  
    Images and write up. More images and write up
    Nymphaea esculenta Konda - - species of Jasmin
    Nymphaea lotus Ma-Nelum - allitamarai -
    Nymphaea nouchali (Blue water lily)
    Images and write up
    Nymphaea stellata, Nymphaea cyanea, Nymphaea edgeworthii are synonymous.
    Neelkamal allittamarai, Karuneythal, Neelambal This is claimed to be the "nil-mahanel", the "national flower" of Sri Lanka, while Nymphea Stelleta was at first officially recognized. See the nature of the controversy (during 2011) in, for instance: Stellata or nouchali? < ahref="">Sky blue Water lily named correct national flower, 5-Apri-2012 Island
    Nymphaea pubescens
    (Pink/While water lily)
    Olu, O~lu, i.e., the "O~" sound is long, as in "Orchestra".
    The flowers can be quite large, about 5-15 cm in diameter. They tend to close during the daytime and open wide at night. Their colour varies from white to pink, mauve or purple depending from the variety or hybrid. Leaves can be coppery coloured, and 20 cm in diameter. The leaves are sometimes used in wrapping cooked rice.
    Images and short write up
    alli,VeLLAmbal This is a common water lilly mentioned in popular sinhalese songs like "Olu nelaalaa, maala gothaalaa, ...", i.e., "pluck Olu flowers, and make garlands ...". The "sigiri apsara", i.e., the maidens in the frescoes of the Sigiri Rock in Sri Lanka seem to be holding Nil-mahanel flowers.
    Nymphaea Stelleta (blue water lily)
    Nymphaeaceae (waterlily family)
    see also Nymphaea nouchali which is very similar, and believed to be a cultivar of Nymphaea Stelleta. Also, Nymphaea cyanea, Nymphaea edgeworthii are other synonyms.
    Nil Maanel, Nil Mahanel Indheevara, Niluppala Neelambal, Kamalam, Alli Tamarei  National Flower of Sri Lanka, since Feb. 26, 1986.
    The number of petals is highly variable; some variates are not so showy as other varieties which are full of petals. The colour itself can have dark and light blues and violet. Maanel Images-From Sri Lanka   Maanel Images from Sri Lanka
    Images from Myanmar
    Images and write up, from India

    There is also a variety Nymphaea nouchali var. caerulea , which is sky-blue colored, and is the Egyptian 'lotus'. It plays a role in Egyptian mythology as the holder of Atum (Aathma?), the egg of life.
    Nymphoides indica, Nymphaea hydrophylla Kumudu - - -
    Nypa fruticans (atap palm, mangrove palm)
    Fossilized nuts of Nypa dating to the Eocene epoch occur in the sand beds of Branksome, Dorset, and in London Clay on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent,[1] testifying to much warmer climatic conditions in the British Isles at that time.
    Gin Pol
    Images and description
    Compared to the Coconut Palm, the Nipah Palm appears to lack a trunk, with its leaves growing straight out of the ground. In fact, its trunk is horizontal and lies underground. The trunk branches and each branch ends with a bunch of fronds.
    - - Threatened species, IUCN red list. This is a palm which grows in muddy and brackish water. It is a potential biofuel Bio-diesel, biofuel: \it has a very high sugar-rich sap yield(NIRA). Fermented into Etanol/Butanol the palm's large amount of sap may allow for the production of 6,480-15,600 liters (per year) of Ethanol/Butanol per hectare. Sugarcane yields 5,000–8,000 liters per hectare(per year) and an equivalent area planted in corn would produce just 2000 liters(per year)per hectare.

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Ochlandra stridula ( Reed Bamboo ) bata, bata lee, - Iral, Irul - It is used for basket weaving, paper making and other crafts. Bamboo is a common term for a large number of giant grasses that include many different species and varieties. It is found in the wet lowlands and in the low hills in the western and southern parts of Sri lanka. See Kariyawasam on bamboo utilization
    Ochna jabodapita L., Ochna squarrosa, Ochna obtusata (Ochnaceae)
    Bird's-eye bush

    There has been considerable controversy over the naming of Ochna, Gompia and similar species. The species is typified by the wild pear.
    Mal-kera, Bo-kera

    A small, much branched tree with glabrous young parts; leaves: simple, alternate, stipulate, 7-15 cm long, shortly stalked, lanceolate or rhomboid-lanceolate, subobtuse at base, acute, finely serrate, paler on the undersurface, veiny; These aspects can be seen in the following image. Images of Ochna multiflora     Image of Tree   Image of flowers etc
    - paliya,padalakkonai

    flowers: regular, Sepals 5, greatly enlarged and turning red in fruit. Petals 5, rarely more, yellow or white. Stamens numerous in 2 or more whorls, free. Carpels (4-) 5-15, 1-ovulate; styles slender, gynobasic, basally united. Fruit of 1-several, free, black drupelets with fleshy mesocarp, inserted on an enlarged, red receptacle.
    This is a beautiful tree or shrub, native to Sri Lanka, and threatened, although does not seem to be listed as such.
    We also have pictures provided by Dr. Shantha Abeywickreme, Sep. 2010., who has also added the following comment:
    Leaves seasonally fall and new red colour tender leaves come. Then blooms. This is one of the smallest to have seasonal shedding of leaves. Even 40 years back it was a rarity. Tea cultivation and glyphosate( round up) herbicide have almost wiped out this very beautiful shrub. Need recognition for future generations
    Ochrosia parviflora Moodu kaduru - - -
    Ocimum basilicum Suvandatala Ajagandhi, Surabhi, Tulasidevesha, Tungi, Manjarika tirunirruppaccai, tirunitru Sweet Basil Image and write up.
    Ocimum canum Heentala, this name is used also for Ocimum minimum Ajaka, Arjaka, Gambhitr pakli, Korai, Naitulasi,palinkiam This is also an aromatic plant. The Tamil name "Naitulsi" evokes the snake-repellant characteristic more pronounced in Eryngium foetidum (Andu-kola). See under Andu-kola
    Ocimum gratissimum, Ocimum tenuiflorum, Ocymum gratissimum (African basil, clove basil, tree basil, wild basil)
    Image and write up
    Thungadirima, Sitharjaka, Thungathala ? We hqave given the Sinhala name recorded in B. Clogh's dictionary, Thunbgadrima (p 215), and Sitharjaka. (p 682)). B see also, Charles Pridham, An historical political and statistical account of Ceylan and its dependencies. A colloquial sinhala name is probably Gas-Thalaa ගස් තලා .

    The plant is well known as an astringent, and belongs to the famil of plants with the sinhalese names like: Mduruthala, suvandathala.   Useful comparison of different types of Basil Plants

    Acoording to Prof. Gerald Peiris, there is a reference to Ocimum gratissimum and its Latin name in Somapala Wijewardenas's dictionary, stating that this is Andu-kola. However, we identify ANDU-KOLA as Eringium foetidum.
    Rantulsi, Vriddhatulsi elumichantulasi, peruntulaci Medicinal applications:
    1. In South Asia, the plant (aromatic like mint and basil), as well as other Basils are used as a source of aroma in aroma therapy, in fumigation baths used in the treatment of rheumatism etc. Decoctions used in male infertility, and STD. Seeds used in headache and neuralgia. Leaves are used as a digestive tonic, Stimulant and demulcent.
    2. In Africa, Ocimum gratissimum L. (Lamiaceae), is used in the treatment of different diseases, e.g., upper respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, headache, fever, ophthalmic, and skin diseases, and pneumonia (Correa 1932, Onajobi 1986, Ilori et al. 1996). The Ocimum oil is also active against several species of bacteria (Escherichia coli, Shigella, Salmonella and Proteus) and fungi ( Trichophyton rubrum and T. mentagrophytes) (El-Said et al. 1969, Begum et al. 1993, Nwosu and Okafor 1995, Nakamura et al. 1999, Orafidiya et al. 2000). Various related species of O. gratissimum, e.g., O. viride Linn, O. suave Linn, O. basilicum Linn and O. canum Sims, have been studied for their medicinal applications (Mshana et al. 2000).
    Ocimum Polystachyon Karal-Thalaa - - -
    Ocimum sanctum, Hortonia floribunda (Sacred Basil, Holy Basil), Maduruthala surasa- karuntulaci, tulaci, Alungai,Kullai The name "Maduruthala" refers to mosquitoes - it is used as an astringent against mosquitoes, either by directly using crushed plants, or using extracts, or its essential oils etc. The plant is also called "Gandhapathra", p153, Clough.
    Ocimum scutellarioides Rat-talaa - - -
    Odina woodier Hik - -- -
    Ophiorrhiza mungos (Mongoose plant, Indian snakeroot) Araththa, - kirippurantan Drawing of plant
    Folk legend claims that the mongoose eats this plant after fighting cobras. It is used to treat snake bite.
    The name 'Dath-Kaetiya has been sometimes ascribed to Ophiorrhiza m., but we are unable to establish it that is correct or not. See however, Xylopia Championni
    Opuntia dillenii (Cactus) katu pathok - naga-dali-
    Ornitrophe serrata Moodu Kobbe මූදු කොබ්බ - - -
    Oroxylum indicum Thotila, Totila syonaka, aralu- Vanga, achi, pana It is a tree which can reach a height of 12 m. with enormous seed pods. Used in the traditional Sinhala " Dashamoola arishtaya", a decoction containing 10 herbs. A similar decoction used in India, known as "elixir of life", is called Chyawanprash, given as a paste containing 25-80 ingredients. It is independently used as a remedy for dysentery, rheumatism, joint pains etc. Bark is used in India for mouth cancer.
    Oryza fufipogon, - derennis moench (pig grass) Uoorutana - - "You can recognize the musical (gandarva) site, because a paddy field weed called pig grass (oorutana) grows there. It is suitable for those of low caste. (Mayamataya)"
    Oryza sativa
    (rice, paddy)

    Oryza glaberrima,
    and other varieties.
    Wee, Vee, haal, Sahal, goyam,

    Oryza sativa is just one variety of rice. From 1920 onwards, many traditional rice varieties in SL were displaced by hardy hybrids (e.g., HR4 etc.). The enormous contribution of the scientists of the Dept. of Agriculture from the 1930s onwards was very important for feeding the rapidly increasing population of Sri Lanka. A glimpse of the post-1960s may be seen from a tribute-essay to Dr. Nissanka Seneviratne Nissanka Seneviratne: by Sarath Amarasiri, in The Sunday Island 29 July 2012 However, this led to an economic abandonment of traditional varieties. Various variates like
    • Heenati Oryza glaberrima(narrow grain),
    • Kahata-wee (coarse-tasting)
    • Gonabaru (?)
    • Suvandael (perfumed)
    • Rathdael (red-perfumed)
    • Kalu-wee (black grained)
    • Maa-wee (large-grained paddy)
    • Kurulu-thuda (bird-beaked)
    • Haetadaa-wee (sixty-day paddy)
    • etc.,
    are known. These (over 300 varieties) are claimed to have various special flavors and possible health benefits (e.g., for diabetes).
    tandula, sali

    Rice culture has been very important for civilizations that grew up in monsoonal areas where seasonal flooding is normal. The flooding kills most weeds. But rice is a variety of grass that can grow in flooded ares and its grain has been food for Bengali and south Asian people since time immemorial. Modern varieties of rice attempt to use less water. Genetically modified (GM) varieties can even have carotenes and essential vitamins in the grain. However, there is public resistance to GM varieties.
    Nel, Nellu.

    The Tamil language has many words associated with rice cultivation. Thirunelveli is a well-known place name at the southern tip of India, as well as in Sri lanka. "Thirunel' means "siri-wee", or 'sacred paddy'.

    However, unlike in Tamil Nadu, ancient Sri Lanka gave rise to a flourishing hydraulic culture based around Anuradhapura (5th century BCE-9th century CE) and Pollonnaruwa (12th century) where vast irrigation reservoirs were built to store water for rice cultivation (see R. L. Brohier, Ancient Irrigation Works in Ceylon , and R. L. Brohier, The Interrelation of groups of ancient reservoirs and channels in Ceylon. Journal RAS (Ceylon), Vol. XXXIV No. 90, 1937; p.65.). This was necessary as the wet-zone forests were impenetrable to early settlers, and it was the 'dry zone' that was initially populated. Each village had its paddy fields ('ketha') and its 'vaeva' (tank or reservoir), kept under repair by community work and by 'Rajakariya' - i.e., compulsory work for the 'king' run in a decentralized manner by the local 'Vel Vidhane' (director of rice-paddies), Mudali, Mudaliyar or Mudliyars, and other local chiefs.
    Oryza glaberrima i.e., "Heenati" occurs in several varieties and is a well sought out. For a short account of paddy cultivation, see: Paddy Cultivation in Sri Lanka by G. D. U. Jayawardena

    The validity of health claims for different varieties of rice may be on the same footings as claims made for red wine, green tea etc., and clearly provide a good marketing advantage. Already there are some entrepreneurs who have begun to market such special rice varieties within the context of the demand for organic 'health' foods. More plant breeding to produce distinct flavors, tastes and textures is needed. Furthermore, what is needed is a Gourmet rice marketing board with funding and an international presence, as has been necessary for marketing tea or specialty wines. Traditional rice - rural enterprise network

    The Magha invasions (10-11th century CE) pushed the Sinhalese kingdom to the south, and it was possible to penetrate the thick wetland forests due to advances in metal tools available by then. Ultimately the capital shifted to Kandy (= Kanda='hill') located in the inaccessible hill country. The Kundasale ('sundara-shala'= 'beautiful rice-paddy'?) valley was a very important rice-growing region of the Kandyan kingdom. An agricultural research station exists in Kundasale today.

    place-names: Siri-vee-vaella (Thirunelveli) Kundasale (Sundara-sahala) ? etc.
    Osbeckia octranda Heen Bovitiya, Heen Bowitiya - - -
    Osbeckia parvifolia, O-rubicunda Bovitiya, Bowitiya - - -
    Osbeckia wakeri,Kendrikuia walkeri Bovitya, Bowitiya- - - see also Kendrikuia walkeri

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Pandanus amaryllifolius Rampa, Rampe - - -
    Palaquium grande Kiripedda, Kiripaedda - - -
    Palaquium rubiginosum Tawenna, Tavaenna - - -
    Palaquium petriolare Kirihembiliya, Kirihaembiliya - - -
    Panicum crus-galli Vael muruk, Walmuruk - - type of "panic grass"
    Paritimn tilliaceum Belli-patta - - -
    Parkia timoriana, Parkia Roxburghii (tree bean) Saputa Maara, Toku-gedi gaha ?
    Not native to Sri Lanka, but sometimes found in the up-country, and in the Peradeniya Gdns. No established sinhala name, but name derived from Hindi/Sanskrit may have been used or confused with Maara trees.
    Sapota Shivalaingada Maara (dravidian languages) ? Large tree found in Assam etc. The large beans (pods) are edible.
    Bark extract used in diarrhoea and dysentery. Bark and leaves are used in lotion applied to skin sores. Oil has insecticidal properties. Parkia Timoriana Image
    Parthenium Hystrophorous ( Parthenium weed, carrot Grass)
    Family: Asteraceae
    Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) is closely related.
    Image and write up
    This is an invasive species common in the North-East dry zone, Embilipitiya etc., and believed to have come with imported grains, or possibly with the arrival of the Indian peace keeping force (KPF) in 1988.
    Gajar Gaas (hindi name) - It colonizes in grassy land and reduces the production of pasture. It is a major health hazard to humans, as its pollen is allergenic, and causes dermatitis. It is expensive to irradicate. Irradicating the weed
    Paspalum scrobiculatum (Kodo millet)
    a bitter-sweet, astringent grain. It grows on a grass-like plant which may grow to 90 cm.
    Amu Sal
    The grain is mentioned in the Mayamatha a medieval Sinhalese astrological work (vide. French translation by Jinadasa Leelaratne.)
    Kodravah, varuka vapitam, varagu, varuka Seeds have medicinal (diuretic, tonic, used for type-II diabetes in India) and possible insect-control properties. Experiments have yielded several known fatty acids, sterols, unusual alkane-like hydrocarbons well known for their insect pheromone activity along with the antitumour glyceride, alpha-palmitin.
    Passiflora edulis Vael Dodang mukkopeera ? ciru punai-k-kali- -
    Pavetta indica Pavatta papata- pavattai, karanai Pavattaweva (Pavatkulam, Pavattaikulam)
    Pavonia odorata (Fragrant swamp mallow) Pusha baebila, mal-baebila, Pusha bebila Udichya, Varinamaka peramutti, avibattam, Image and write up
    The roots contain valeric acid, its aldedhyde, terpenes and azulenes.
    Pavonia zeylanica Kurundthati ? Bala cirramuttii,chitta mutti -
    Pedalium murex Aeta Nerenchi ඇට නෙරෙන්චි - perunerunji
    Peltophorum pterocarpum, Peltophorum ferrugineum (Copperpod, Golden Flamboyant, Yellow Flamboyant, Yellow Flame Tree) Maara, Kaha-maara - Nilalvakai, Kona Maram- The tree has been urbanized during British times, and used effectively as a shade tree along Bulelrs Road and similar roads in Colombo. It is a dry-zone tree. Peltophorum means shield bearer and this relates to the fruits of this tree which are small pods resembling shields. The tree which is indigenous to Sri Lanka. Images
    Penicillaria involucratum Pothuhaera - pottukkampu Pothuvila (Pottuvil)
    Penicillaria involucratum Pothuhaera - pottukkampu Pothuvila (Pottuvil)
    Pennisetum olystachyon Pogon grass - -
    Pericopsis mooniana Nedun, Naedun - - Nadunkurana (Nedunkerney) Nadun weva (Nedunkulam) Nadunkadola (Nedunkandal)
    Perotis indica
    (Indian comet grass)
    Images and write up
    kudira-thana ? - thopparai pullu, narival, kudiraival pullu See Bor, N. L. 1960. Grass. Burma, Ceylon, India & Pakistan i–xviii, 1–767. Pergamon Press, Oxford.  i Book on grasses
    Petroselinum hortense. Petroselinum crispum, Apium petroselinum L.

    (Parsley) Umbelliferae family, which also includes celery, carrots, dill, cilantro, caraway, cumin.
    Images and writeup
    Italian parsely is les curly
    The parsley leaf looks like a very fine version of Coriander leaves, but it is not coriander or cilantro.
    Rata Asamodagam (?)

    Not native to Sri lanka; plant originated in the medeterrranean, and it is now widely cultivated as a valuable herb. Persillade is a mixture of chopped garlic and chopped parsley used in French cuisine while 'Thibuli' is middle-eastern.
    - - In Sri lankan cooking, Chopped parsely leaves can be made into a 'Sambol' similar to 'Gotukola sambol'.
    Many many health benefits are claimed for Parsley in popular folk medicine, e.g., as an anti-oxidant, an anti-inflmmatory etc.
    Persea americana Alipera - - -
    Persicaria wallichii, Poligonum Wallichii (knot weed) Aembul Gaeta, Ambul Gata,ඇම්බුල් ගැට Images and write up - Invasive weed found in the Nuwar Eliya region. Lalith Gunasekera on "Himalayan plant invading Nuwara Eliya, 2011 ....this plant could be a big disaster in cooler climatic regions in sri Lanka specially in Nuwara Eliya district.... etc.
    Phaseolus aureus Robx (green gram) Mung haritha mudga Moong see current name: Vigna radiata
    Vigna mungo (L.) Hepper,, previously, Phaseolus mungo (black gram) ulundu, Undu Mudga uluntu, payaru US Dept. of agriculture now definitely classifies it as a Vigna Savi, i.e., cow pea Genus, in the family Fabaceae, i.e., Pea family. hence the name Vigna mungo is the presently accepted name. "Ulundu vade" is one of the most well known preparations using Ulundu or Undu flour. It is less extensively used in Sinhala cooking.
    Phlomis Ceylanica kuramba ? - Dron2a-pushpi, kula-pAlaka ? type of orange
    Phoberos macrophyllus Katu Kurundu - - -
    Phoenicanthus coriacea (Thw.) H. Huber Kelu - - Threatened species
    Phoenix dactylifera (Dates, date palm)
    Family: Arecaceae
    The name is of Greek origin (daktulos, c.f., finger), and dates have an ancient history going back to Sumarian times.
    Rata Indi, රට ඉංදි
    There is also a Sri Lankan local variety (Indi) which has very small fruits, similar to that of Phoenix loureirii or Phoenix sylvestris, Phoenix_pusilla with not much food value, but used in landscaping.
    - - Pericham pazham, pericham balam,
    note that pazham, balam, and palam are transliterations of 'palam', fruit.., a word of Prakrit/Sanskrit origin (c.f., Phala in Sanskrit).
    Dr. Pethiyagoda has this to say about attmpts to cultivate Dates in Sr Lanka:
    Govt to dabble with Dates, Island Newspaper, March 2012
    It is not disclosed as to who is "studying" the prospect. The chances of commercially breeding Polar Bears or Penguins is only marginally more hopeless. I wish the Government would turn its attention to "dabbling" in issues that are much more urgent and practical.
    Dr U. Pethiyagoda, Former FAO Expert in Date Palm Breeding,
    Phoenix pusilla (Ceylon Date palm) Indi-gaha, ඉංදි ගහ
    The name has most likely come form "indo", meaning coming from India. However, the Malayalm, Telegu and Tamil names also contain the intu, ita ending in the names.
    parusakah- cittintu, icham,- This is a fruit plant endemic to Sri lanka.
    Phoenix sylvestris (wild date, Indian date palm) Wal Indi, val Indi, වල්ඉංදි - - Found in India, and sometimes in SL. The word `Phoenix`in the Latin name came from Greek and means "purple". while `Sylvestris` means "wild". The leaves may be used for making mats, bags etc. The tree is tapped to make a toddy or palm wine. Wild Date
    Phyllanthus debilis, Phyllanthus airy-shawii (Niruri ) Pitawakka, Pitavakka Thaamalaki-,Drdhapadia - Plant is used in Sinhala medicine for daibetes. See Ratnasooriya et al-   Image
    Phyllanthus emblica, Emblica officinalis ( Indian gooseberry, myrobalan ) Nelli Dhatri Nelli, toppi Place-names: Nelliyadda (Nelliyaddi)
    It part of the "Aralu, Bulu, Nelli combination of Thripala popular in Sri Lanka, and in S. Asia. The fruit is extremely rich in Vitamin C. There are tanning agents in the juice and the bark. It is a major constituent of other Ayurvedic Tonics, "rasaayanams", and in Sinhala Kashaaya etc. It is the base of Chyawanprash. Charak Samhita, the ancient Ayurvedic treatise written by Charak in the 4th century BC, contains the first historically documented formula for Chyawanprash. This "jam" is a mix of 49 ayurvedic herbs with "nelli"(Indian gooseberry) or Emblica officinalis as the base. The other ingredients in this traditional recipe include ashwaganda, pippali, cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon in a base of clarified butter and honey. This 'elixir' is claimed to be good for all, irrespective of age and gender, and said to create a harmonious synergy in the body leading to better metabolism. (Please note that in this website we report the information available in the literature, but make no claims to their scientific validity. Indian hebalists sell Cyawanprash for about $30 per lb in white plastic bottles-price in the year 2010. It is in their interests to boost these claims.).
    nelli is claimed to be useful in hemorrhoids, gastritis and colitis, and the regulation of blood sugar. The crushed dried fruit is available in tablet form and sold as alternative medicine in the west.   Image and write up
    Phyllanthus urinaria Pitawakka bahupatra- cirukilanelli -
    Picrorrhiza Kurroa
    Image of dried roots
    Katukarosana Katuka - Well known herb used in Sri Lankan local medicine, in Kashayaas, to treat disorders of the liver and upper respiratory tract, reduce fevers, and to treat dyspepsia, chronic diarrhea. The dried product (roots) is mostly imported from India, but may be grown in the rocky, cooler high-elevation parts of Sri lanka. It is claimed to reduce cholesterol, anti-asthmatic, has antioxidents, and is hepato-protective. Its main ingredient is Kutkin, made up of various glycosides. It also contains curcubitins which are claimed to have anti-tumour effects. See also Updates
    Pimpinella anisum (Anis)
    Description and Images
    (Mahaduru ?), paeniduru, Sathapuspa Shatapushpa- Makampu- It is a carminative, antispasmodic, expectorant, a pancreatic stimulant. As food, the anise is used for cooking sweet and spicy dishes.
    Piper betel Bulath nagavalli, tambula verrilai, vettilai, Vettila (Mal), Tamalapaku (Tel), veeleya/vilya (K),Vidyache pan (Marathi) What is the etymology of "Bulath"? It does not seem to be related to other languages including Sanskrit "Nagavalli". However, tamBULA may have been abbreviated and extended to "Bulath" from the usage for a sheaf of betels, as discussed below. The "Bula-atha" perhaps became, "bulath atha", i.e., the sheaf of leaves given to the host on traditional visitations in olden times. The etymology of the Sanskirt word nagavalli is also obscure. "Valli" may have the meaning "vine", or creeper, while the name "Naga" here is thought to be associated with the "cobra head" shape of the veins on the leaf. Some consumers of betel, mainly used as a masticatory mixed with sliced arica-nut ("puvak" in Sinhala), distinguish between the green leaved betel more common in the south, with a somewhat more golden ("damba") variety found in the north. Also people who are aware of the older belief systems and consuming betel usually nip the tapering apex of the leaf in a gesture equivalent to "decapitating the cobra". For a picture of the betel leaf, with the "cobra-hood" or "naga-hood imprinted" leaf, see Betel leaf   . Dr.Herman Vinze has also suggested to us that "The herb Betel is a climber that twines in a serpentine fashion round a prop or a tree in the vicinity, hence the epithet, NAGAVALLI". Many pepper vines are creepers. Other types of peper, e.g., Piper longum (Thipplili in Sinhala) are also climbers but they do not have leaves with "naga-hood" shaped veins. It should also be noted that a tribe of people known as the "Nagas" are mentioned in the Mahabharata, Mahavamsa and other ancient texts, and lived in ancient south-east Asia. They may have been consumers of this leaf.

    The western form "Betel" may have arisen from the Malayalam "Verilla", where the sound "v" transforms to "b" and "r" to "t", "betila" and "betel" via Portuguese, circa 16th century. The Malayalam word "Verilla" may be a compounding of "veru ila". Toponymy
    Piper chaba (Thai pepper) siviya
    Thai lomg peper, iamges etc
    - - T
    Piper longum Thippili, Tippili, pippali, Magadhi - Pippili, tippili, Pipallu (Tel), Tippali (Mal), Hipli (K) There is also a variety known as "Gaja Thippili" or "Gajakana". Thipplili is of great importance in south Asian medicine, and occurs in many herbal preparations. See previous entry, under "Piper betel".
    Piper nigrum Gammiris maricam- milaku, milagu Miriswatte, Mirisa-vaetiya, Mirrissa are known place names. Mirisa Vaetiya is an important Anuradhapura Shrine mentioned in the mahavamsa.
    Pisionia grandis, Ceodes umbraculifera [sensu GW], (grand devil's-claws)

    Bougainvillea family
    Tree with pale bark to 20m.
    The LEAVES: opposite sometimes alternate, simple, wide-oval, to 30x15cm, topside without hairs; stalk short to 3cm.
    FLOWERS: unisexual on same tree or different, in terminal clusters;
    MALE tube green, slightly flaring; petals (=lobes) small, spreading, cream; stamens 5-6 slightly protruding;
    FEMALE tube green ovoid, 5 rows of black glands; lobes tapering, not spreading; stigma protruding.
    FRUIT (=anthocarp) cylindrical, ripening brown with 5 spiny ribs, sticky, to 2cm long. (courtesy: Cook-Island biodiversity site)

    Chemical examination of Pisonia grandis (Leehai Kottai, Keerai)afforded actacosanol, B-sitossterol, a-spinosterol, B-sitosterol glucoside, dulcitol and quercetin.
    වාත භංග
    Vaathabhanga, Vathabhanga, Wathabanga, ketta-kola
    Image and Sinhala write up
    - Lechai-Kottai-Keerai- Leaves are eaten as a cooked salad (maellung), often mixed with pani-thora leaves, mukunuvaenna leaves etc. It is claimed to reduce arthritis, constipation, kidney function etc.
    Plectranthus Elongata Wal kapparawalliya - - -
    Plectranthus zeylanicus, Coleus zeylanicus (Benth Coleus vettiveroides (K. C. Jacob), Iriveriya, ඉරිවේරිය
    Also, see under Coleus
    Vettiyar Native to Sri lanka hills; has terpenes: derivatives of geaniol, nerol, hexane, octane
    Plantago ovata, P. arenaria (Psyllium, Ripple grass, spaghula) aspagolla Ashwagol,Ishadgola,Ashwakarnabeeja, Sheetabeeja Iskolvirai, Iskol, Isphagol, Ishappukolvirai, Ishappukol Not native to Sri lanka. It needs cool dry weather. Seeds are collected and the Psyillum husk, and muscilage are used in "colon cleanser" and obeisity medications.
    Pleomele reflexa Synonym Dracaena sanderiana Song of sri lanka.
    piliomalee, පිලියෝමලී
    write up in Sinhalese
    - - This is an ornamental plant introduced to Sri Lanka. There are several variants like: song of India, song of Sri Lanka, etc. There are many Sri Lankan exporters of this ornamental plant.
    Pleurostylia Panakka - - -
    Plumbago zeylanica (Ceylon leadwort) Ela Nitul, Rat Nitul is Plumbago Indica Chitraka kodiveli, venkotiveli, chitramoolam, Chittira Plant is used in sinhala native treatment in combination with other preparations, especially for fever. There are many prescriptions for fever containing it and it is prescribed in flatulence, dyspepsia, dysentery an other diseases. The root is used medicinally for bowel disorders; it is used fors anti-fertility puposes. images and write up
    Plumeria acuminata (Temple flower, Frangipani, Champac), Plumeria rubra, Plumeria Pudica Araliya - arali, perungalli, kanagile, kuppiyalani, The residence of the Prime minster of Sri Lanka is known as "Temple Trees". The flower is offered in buddhist temples, votive offerings to gods etc.. Muslims plant the tree in burial grounds. It is related to the Oleander plant Kaneru but less poisonous. The plant material is used in alternative medicine as a purgative, remedy for diarrhoea and cure for itch. The milky sap is employed for the treatment of inflammation and rheumatism. Its fragrance is used in commercial perfumes.   Images
    Plumeria Pudica is the type of "Araliya", with white or yellowish flowers. This profuse bloomer has unusual spoon-shaped leaves, and its flowers are white with a yellow center. Its common names are: Bridal bouquet, White frangipani
    Pogostemon heyneanus, Gam Kollan-kola - kannokkikyacceti, katir paccai Pogostemon Patchouli is a variety of this plant, from which Patchouli is produced. See Clough's dictionary 1892, p149-
    Polyalthia longifolia Owila, Ovila, asoka asoka ulkatah nettilinkam, assothi -
    Polyalthia persicaefolia (Hook. f. & Thoms.) Thw.
    There is also a Polyalthia mooni Thw.
    Patul Kenda, Patul Kaenda, Pata ul Kaenda - - Threatened species
    Polygala arvensis (Milkwort) -sinhala name not known.
    If available, please write to
    - veppilainankai, orupanankaicceti -
    Polygala chinensis (milkwort) sirinangi (sinhala name not confirmed}
    believed to be a hypnotizing herb.
    - ciriyanankai -
    Polygala javana (milkwort) - sinhala name not known.
    If available, please write to
    believed to be a hypnotizing herb.
    - ciriyanankai -
    Polygonum barbatum (knotgrass) Kibulvaenna, Kimbulwenna - niralari, kulattukkulkuratti Image and write up
    Pometia Tomentosa Mora - Murali, Chem-poovam Morakotahena (Morakkottanchenai )
    Pongamia Pinnata
    Pongamia glabra.
    Family Fabaceae (Indian beech)
    A legume tree that grows to about 15–25 meters in height. The tree grows wild on sandy and rocky soils, including limestone, and will grow in most soil types, even with its roots in salt water. Flowers after 3–4 years. Cropping of pods and single almond sized seeds may occur by 4–6 years. Small white, purple, and pink flower clusters blossom throughout the year, maturing into brown seed pods.

    Karandeniya (SP), Karampethara (WP), Karandana, Karangoda (SabP) Karambe, Karemewewa, Karambahedigala,Karambalana, Karambalanda, Karambapahala, Karambawatta (NWP and NCP) Karambankulama,Karandapotana (NCP) Krampan, Karampakam,Karanmpaikkuruchchi(Karamabakulissa), Karampaimadu (Karambamaduwa) (N & E) Karandagolla, Karandamadiththa (CP)
    Naktamaala kolliyam, pomka, punku The twigs are used as toobrushes in rural Sri Lanka. The leaf-extract is believed to be protective of crops aganst catterpillers. The seed oil has been found to be useful in diesel generators and, along with Jatropha, it is being explored in hundreds of projects throughout the third world as feedoil for Bio-diesel, biofuel. Images and description
    Portulaca oleracea (Purslane) Genda kola- ගෙඳකොල - karikkirai, pulikkirai There are ~200 species of purslanes, where the common name for the group is Portulaca. The species (amn annual), Portulaca oleracea is found around the world and almost as a weed in Sri lanka. It grows even in poor-quality soils with little water and resists disease. Its seeds have been found to survive for decades. P. oleracea has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, helpful in reducing heart disease and important in the katabolisis of cell membranes, nervous sytem, brain and eyes. "Genda" is sold as "Keerai" by Tamil-speakingvegetable vendors in Colombo.   Image of a typical species (Portulaca oleracea)
    Lawrence Newcomb's Flower guide (997) describes it as:
    weed is from the Purslane Family (Portulacaceae) and also goes by the name Pusley. It has rosettes of fleshy, paddle-shaped leaves, each with a small (1/4 inch wide) yellow flower. It grows low to the ground in large circular mats up to 1.2m across and it is succulent with short leaves less than an inch long scattered along its brownish stems. The flowers only open for a few hours in the morning sun and there are usually five petals but sometimes four or six. Its seeds are ovate to triangular, reddish brown to black and shiny. Each plant is capable of producing 240,000 seeds which are viable for up to 40 years. It is found in gardens and bare ground from June to October.
    It would be very interesting to distill the seeds of this plant and run a mass spec. or chromatograph of the product. I haven't seen any work in that direction as yet.(CDW 2010).
    Premna integrifolia Maa Midi - munnai, aranai Also, premna spinosa. Used as herbal medicine, it is an ingredient of Dashamool Arishtaya
    Premna serratifolia heen-midi Angnimantha- Erumai-mullai, perumunnai, munnai Mahisadoova (Erumaitivu)
    Page 54 of C. Rasanayagam, Ancient Jaffna
    Alternative identification and pictures
    Premna tomentosa Boo seru - podaganari, masathekku
    Premna Vilosa Lee-kola palaa - -
    -Prosopis cineraria (Mesquite)
    Botany and write up
    Vanni-andara. Katu andara, Kalapu andara, Lunu andara.
    Same name, i.e, Andara, is used with Acacia catechu
    Mesquite bushes in Sri Lanka Dry Zone
    - vanni, parambi
    Linked with the "vanni" caste in South India
    Vanniyar as a caste are no longer registered amongst northern Sri Lankan Tamils but are believed to be assimilated as part of the local Vellalar castes. Many kings and chiefs with titles such as Vanni or Vannia had ruled in these areas termed as Vannimai during the Jaffna Kingdom days. The Sinhalese/Pali/Sanskrit word for forest, namely Vanna and Vannia (or Wannia) as a forest-dweller, and vanniars as their chiefs is also well accepted in Sri Lanka (c.f.., the word Vanniyala-Aetto)
    Thorns are distributed sparsely, unlike in P. jiliflora
    Vanni Tree (Prosopis) is a holy tree in the Hindu tradition. Pods are eaten as a vegetable in the human diet in some areas. In Rajasthan, green pods called sangri are boiled and dried. The flowers are valuable for honey production. The bark can be used in leather tanning and yields an edible gum. Bark and flowers are used medicinally. In times of famine, the powdered bark has been mixed with flour and made into cakes. However, in some ecologies Katu Andara has become invasive, and the IUCN has listed it as one of the trouble 100 invasive trees where as such blanket categorization is clearly invalid.
    -Prosopis juliflora (Mesquite) vanni-andara, Katu andara, Lunu Andara
    Same name is used with Accacia catechu
    This is said to have been introduced to Sri Lanka in the 19th century. But given its existence and recognition even as a holy tree in ancient India, that claim is unlikely to be true. The tree is believed to have existed in the Vanni and Mannar regions for a long time.
    Dr. Pethiyagoda on katu-Andara, 2011 wonders if the Forest Dept. wished to plant Prosopis Dulcis in the Hambantota/Ambalanthota area and ended up with P. Juliflora.
    - cimaikkaruvel, velikattan This species has thorns in pairs at the nodes but thornless internodes. It may also be almost thoneless.
    Prosopis spicigera Lunu andara - takanam, vanni
    Vanni Tree (Prosopis Spicigera) is a holy tree in the Hindu tradition.
    Prunus ceylanica (Ceylon cherry)
    Lovi, lovi (?), Katulovi, katu lovi
    see also Flacourtia indica, called Lovi or Uguraessa, a kind of plum.
    Plums and prunes belong to the so-called `stone fruits' as they have a hard stone. The common plum in the west is the European plum (Prunus domestica).

    We have not confirmed if Prunus cerasus is Elawaluka.
    Threatened plant katilai, Pallankachchi, Attanarei Helps reduce Gout symptoms; said to contain melatonine which helps to induce sleep. (In this regard, Tart cherries are recognized as a valuable cure for insomnia. Prunus avium L. is the Sweet Cherry, and Prunus cerasus L. the Sour, Pie, or Tart Cherry. 'Montmorency' is by far the main sour cherry in the USA and Canada
    Pseudarthria viscida Family: Fabaceae (bean family) Gas-Gonika
    Image and write up
    Salaprni, Saliparni, prisniparni In the northern India Saliparni is identified as desmodium gangeticum. (`Salaparni' name based on the similarity of its leaves to those of sala tree shorea robusta, pitani, Neermalli The Sinhala name `Gas-Gonika' has been firmly identified with Pseudarthria viscida. It is important in Ayurveda and Sinhala medicine, used in `kola-kaenda' (herbal soup) for reducing blood clotting, cholesterol, against diabetes etc., although so far careful experimental data are lacking It is also claimed to be a cure for hemorrhoids.
    Psidium guajava Pera - sengoyya, koyya -
    Pterocarpus marsupium Gammaalu, Gammalu asanah- vengai -
    Pterocarpus santalinus Rathhandun, Rath Handun, Rath keeriya ? raktachandana- cencantam Then timber is highly valued. The oil is also highly valued in the aroma industry and in traditional medicine. "Sudu Handun" is Santalum album Rath Handun is applied as a paste to swellings, insect bites and dermatological conditions. It has other extensive applications in Ayurveda, where "Raktha Chandana Choorna" has been mentioned. Image and write up
    Pterospermum canescens Velang, Welan - - -
    Punica granatum L. (Pomagranate)
    Image, Flower of the Promagranate
    Delum, දෙලුම්
    See: Proceedings of the Peradeniya University Research Sessions, Sri Lanka, Vol. 16, 24th November 2011 Comparison of Antioxidant Potential of Sri Lankan and Indian Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) Cultivars for a discussion of the phytochemistry, by D. Bopitiya , L.J.P.A.P. Jayasooriya and T. Madhujith (
    dadima- lohitapuspaka matulai,matulam An ancient fruit mentioned even in the Exodus and in Ayurvedic medicine. The fruit and seeds are claimed to be beneficial to cardiac ailments, and contain anti-oxidants. It is used in salads, cordials and beberages. The fruit is exported from Sri lanka.
    Putranjiva zelanica Pelen - karupali -
    Pyrrosia heterophylla L. Price Image
    This is a type of fern (family Polypodiaceae).
    Panam pethi
    The sinhala name reflects the "coin shaped leaves" of this fern commonly found on the trunks of coconut trees etc.
    - karupali -

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Quisqualis indica, Combretum indicum (Rangoon creeper, Chinese honeysuckel, Drunken sailor)
    Images and Notes
    Raengun-mal, Raengun vael
    Both these names are clear adaptations into Sinhalese, of the name "Rangoon Flower", or Rangoon creeper.
    - irangun-malli, ilankaramallikai
    'irangun-malli' is clearly the tamilized form of "Raengun-mal".
    'Quasiqualis' means, in Latin, "What is this?"
    This creeper is sometimes regarded as 'invasive'.

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Randia dumetorum - - marukkarai
    Randia dumetorum Kukuruman madana- matukkarai -
    Raphanus sataiva (radish)
    Image and write up
    kaluwata, gedi-raabu ?, raedis ala, kaluwata
    The name Kaluwata is mentioned (p114) of Clough's 19th century dictionary.
    moolaka moolam This is an introduced vegetable grown in the up-country, related to "Raabu". Believed to be good for Gout, Arthritis etc.
    There are many varieties of radishes, and the some-waht similar tasting turnips which contain sulphur-based substances. The small near-spherical radish with a white-inside red-skin variety is the most well known. The long (carrot shaped but white) radishes, and the white Raabu,රාබු or Kohlrabi (german turnip), and the vegetable known in tamil as Nuchal, which is nokohl නෝකො in sinhala usuage, may appear similar. The latter are a type of turnip, Brassica rapa ). However, turnips and radishes should not be confused.
    Rauvolfia serpentina (Indian snakeroot) Ekaveriya, Ekaweriya, ඒකාවේරිය sarpagandha, chandrika cuvanamilpoti, covannamilpori Medicinal herb, used to lower blood pressure. It is also a tranquilizer and anti-pyschotic. The drug "resperine" is made from this plant, which is one of the earliest to be exploited by western companies. Images and write up.

    Wrtite up in the flora of Sri lanka
    L., Sp. Pl. 208. 1753. Type Species: Rauvolfia tetraphylla L,
    Erect, glabrous treelets or subshrubs with rather little latex. Leaves in whorls of three, obovate-lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, with few, strongly arched lateral veins including with the midrib an angle of 45-60 degrees. Flowers in mostly long-peduncled cymes, terminal or terminal and lateral from between two petioles. Calyx eglandular; the lobes lanceolate, acute. Corolla pure white or white tinged with violet, glabrous without; the tube cylindrical, slightly inflated above the middle; the lobes shorter than the tube, ovate, obtuse, in bud overlapping to the left. Stamens inserted in the inflated portion of the tube; the anthers distinct, ovate to oblong, apiculate. Disk annular. Merocarps distinct or connate for one-half of their length, ovoid, sessile, short-apiculate to almost obtuse, fleshy, indehiscent, each with one seed. Seeds ovoid, with fleshy endosperm, without a tuft of hairs. A rather large, pantropical genus, represented in Ceylon by two species only
    Rauvolfia densiflora   Rauvolfia serpentina

    Rauvolvia Densiflora has been collected from Rattota and studied by S. W. Weerakoon et al., Pharmaceutical Botany, vol36, p360 (1998).
    rhinacanthus communis. Vael anitta, Wael Aniththa - -l -
    Rhizophora mucronata, R. Apiculata (Mangrove) Maha Kadol - kandal SERUGANDARA, SERUKADOLA (Cherukkandal)
    Monarakadola (Mannakandal)
    Naedunkadola (NaddanKandal)
    Rhododendron arboretum (Azelias)
    Family: Ericaceae . Tree Rhododendron
    Maha ratmal, Maha Rath Mal, Aselamal
    The Sinhalese name "rathmal" is mostly used for the Ixoras, which are not in this family. However, the Rhododendrons are not a common plant in Sri Lanka, and the unsystematic local name seems to be"Maha-rathmal", i.e., "Big-Ixora", applied to smaller varieties which are more like ornamental Azelias. Hence the name "asela-mal", probabaly adapted from "Azelia" by horticulturists, may be more appropriate.
    It prefers a colder dry climate than what is available in most parts of Sri Lanka.
    Lali Guranth (Nepali) Billi, Varasu (Malayalam) Rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal, and the state flower of Sikkim. This plant holds the Guinness Record for World's Largest Rhododendron. A scarlet Rhododendron arboreum on Mt. Japfu, Nagaland reached a height of 20 m. Scarlet rhododendron is native to Himalayas, from Kashmir eastwards to Nagaland. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flower.
    Rhodomytus tomentosa, Rhodomyrtus parviflora, Myrtus canescens (Ceylon Gooseberry) Sitha Pera, සීත පේර - Thavittu koya- Small fruit, used in jams. Images etc
    Rhynchoglossum notonianum Nildiva,nari nakuta - - Asia, and the Pacific regions.  Sri Lanka
    Ricinus communis(Castor)
    Image and write up
    Erandu, Gadamba eranda, erandagaccha (pali) amanakku, erantam Tis is a perennial shrub from the Euphorbiaceae family. Seeds have been found Egyptian tombs dating back over four millennia. The oil from the seed was used in wick lamps, unguents, medicines, purges etc. No other vegetable oil contains such a high proportion of fatty hydroxy acids. Castor oil has a low freezing point, and a high viscosity make it very suitable for various industrial and phramaceutical applications.
    It is also a potentially important source of Bio-diesel, biofuel. Gernam-Kenyan study -Small farms may produce 350kg of seed per acre (India), while well managed, irrigated farms may give 1600kg/acre. One tonne of seed will yield 365-573 liters of castor oil, i.e., upto 959 kg of oil.
    Rosmarinus officinaliss (Rosemary) Roomari, (rasunaeti ??)
    The sinhala name is not well established, and we have not been able to confirm it. Its use in some ayurvedic preparations may have led to a name borrowed from Sanskrit.
    Rusmari,BR> The herb is known to Sanskrit authors as "rasumari"; where "ras" is probably related to "dew", or to taste (as in "rasa"), and "mari" is related to "marine", or sea. - This is a strongly aromatic Mediterranean herb (mint family) used in cooking. It is unknown in Sri lankan cooking. Indian medicine uses it in hair products, tonics etc., and for "improving memory". .
    Rotula aquatica Galhura Pashanabheda seppunerinji Image and write up
    Rubia cordifolia vael-madata - mancitti This is used medicinally, in a preparation known in Sri Lankan native medicine as "Pinda tel". It is an oil is prepared with the base of sesame oil, bees wax, waelmadata (Rubia cordifolia) etc. it is claimed to reduce localized pain and burning sensations.
    Rubus leucocarpus Wal Rosa, val ro~sa -) - -
    Ruellia ringens s. Trimen
    Hygrophila salicifolia (Wild Petunia, Ruellia)
    Family: Acanthaceae – Acanthus family
    Nil puruk - coracakkicceti, kiranti nayan- Ruellia plants, Images etc.- We thank Prof. Samarakoon, MH, RK, and others for some information.
    Ruellia prostrata, ipteracanthus prostratus (Poir.) Nees
    (Bell weed, Prostrate wild petunia)
    Nil Puruk
    Dhanavan coracakkicceti See also, Ruella ringens
    Ruellia Zeylanica Daara-puruk - - Listed in Charles Pridham.
    Ruta graveolens Aruda - arvata, arvada -
    Ruta graveolens - - arvada -

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) Uk, Ukgas Sarkara karumbu, karumpu Sugarcane species in Sri Lanka by Nande Dharmawardene Ethanol fuel in Sri Lanka
    see also N. Dharmawardene Sugar Tech, vol. 8 p 36-53 (2005)
    Sacciopelsis interrupta Beru-pan tall reedy grass - -
    Salacia prinoides, Salacia Reticulata Kothala-himbutu - - Claimed to lower blood sugar levels, reduces rheumatoid arthritis, and used as a herbal tea. This plant can be used to treat allergies due to sensitivity to pollen, skin ailments and bronchial asthmas. Herbal teas
    Japanese companies are claimed to be selling products based on this plant. However, caution must be excercised in judging these reports. See Claims reg. Fuji patents The Siddhalepa group in Sri Lanka also claims a patent for Kothala-Himbutu products.
    Salvadora persica (tooth-brush tree, Miswak) Maliththana, Mal-idhdhana, Pilu Pilu, gudaphala- opa, uka This tree is mentioned in the Mahabharatha (Book VIII: Karna Parva, Chapter 30, verse 24) under the name Pilu, and its twigs are recommended for use as a tootbrush, esp. in Arabic-Persian traditions. Mild desinfectants are found in the juice of the crushed twigs. A closely related species, Salvadora oleiodes is also said to be found in arid parts of Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, the twigs of the "Karanda tree" are used for toothbrushes, insted of the Miswak tree.
    Wiki write up and image The sanskrit name ``Pllu" has also been used in Sanskrit (c.f., Cologne Sanskrit dictionary) for palm trees (see our write up under cocos nucifera).
    Sansevieria zeylanica (Snake plant)
    Most plants sold as Sansevieria zeylanica are S. trifasciata. True Sansevieria zeylanica has little appeal as an ornamental plant. A commercial outlet and images
    Niyanda, නියඳ also Maruva - murvam This (or S. trifasciata )is also a common ornamental house plant. See Sansevieria Production Guide
    The roots are used in local medicine.
    Santalum album Sudu Handun chandana- cantanam -
    Sapindus emarginatus Penela phenila- puvamkottai -
    Saraca asoca Asoka, Diya ratambala Ashoka asoka,asoka pattai -
    Saraca Indica Diya Ratmal - asoka pattai -
    Sarcocephalus cordatus (Leichhardt tree) Bakini, Bakmi, Bakmee, (Piya ?) - - Other names may be: Cephalanthus orientalis, Nauclea orientalis Images and write up
    see Bakini under Nauclea orientalis
    Sauropus Androgynus (Sweet Leaf Bush, Star Gooseberry, called "katuk" in Singapore)
    Spurge family, Euphorbiaceae i.e., the family of castor, poinsettia, manioc etc.
    Image Images and write up; Images
    Japan batu,
    however, this is not in the Solanaceae family typical of wambatu or Thibbatu.
    - - People in Sri lanka may consume the leaves if they have the plant in their garden. The leaves have a pleasent nutty-leafy taste. Both flowers and fruits produced by the plant can be eaten. Fruits are liked by the "Konda-kurulla" birds (a type of cardinal). However, it is not known in the Sri lankan markets. There are adverse effects (due to presence of oxalates, and hence it should be consumed only in moderation). I thank RK for information reg. this plant (aug-2011).
    Sarcostemma secamone - - kalappalai,kalappai -
    Scaevolas Koenigii, S. Takkada (rice-paper plant) Thakkada - - The pitch of this plant was used in the old days (before plastics became popular) for as a soft, light carving and moulding material and for making paper.
    Schleichera oleosa, Schleichera trijuga (Lac tree, Ceylon Oak, Macassar-oil tree) Koon, (Ko~n) කෝන් Mukulakah, Rakthamrah Puvatti-puvam, Pumarata, modakapulasu (Telegu) Large tree, 15-32 m high dense spreading crown, leaves alternate, 2-4 pairs, elliptic
    The bark and oil are used. The bark is astringent, anti-pyretic, inflammation etc. The oil is bitter-sweet: stomachic, anthelmintic, purgative. Used for burns, acne, dermotherapy. -
    Scleria oryzoides Pothu-pan, Pothukola, Pothuhara - Poththu ? -
    Scleria tesselata Wel karawu, Vel karavu - - weed, waste locations Image
    Semecarpus (semicarpus) gardneri, (marking nut tree) Badulla
    Semicarpus Obvata, Semicarpus obovatum is Kalu-Baulla, a threatened species listed in IUCN-red list.
    See alsp p 114 of Clogh's dictionary.
    - - The city of Badulla, capital of the Uva province, location of Muthiyangana, is a well-konwn toponymic.
    Sesamum indicum (Sesame, gingilly) Thala Tila [तिल] ellu, ella The sinhala name clearly comes from the Sanskrit which is also the source of all north Indian names. The south indian languages (Kannada, Tamil, malayalam etc.) use a form related to Ellu, as in Tamil.  . Etymology and Images
    This grain is used to make "Thala thel", or Gingelly/Gingilly Oil. This is a staple in the Jaffna (Jaapanaya) and other Tamil-Hindu areas of Sri lanka. It is used for "oil baths" in the Tamil traditions, but the use of this oil is very limited in Sinhalese-Buddhist culture. However, an account in the Raajaratnaakaray show that "gingilly oil, cow ghee, civet fat (urulae thel) and camphor were burnt for 12 years in the temple by King Pandith Parakrama bahu. in the temple .Wijayasundaraaramaya, in Beligala.
    For medicinal uses and pharmocology, see Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology, vol 2 (no 2), p15-19 (2008)
    Sesame plant holds its importance from the ancient times. Sesamum indicum is commonly called sesame, Family: Pedaliaceae mainly cultivated for its seeds. Beside seeds the other parts of plant are also useful like flowers (, alopecia, and constipation), roots (antifungal activity) and leaves (infant cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, and for urinary infections). Sesamin and sesamolin, two unique phytoconstituents isolated from seeds, possess excellent cholesterol-lowering effect in humans and prevents high blood pressure. They serve as a good source of copper, manganese and calcium which are effective in reducing pain, in osteoporosis and in reduction of swelling in rheumatoid arthritis. Antioxidant action is also observed with seeds. In Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine the oil from seeds is used for massage and health treatments of the body. The present review encompasses all the important aspects of sesame. On the other hand, some negative indications for heart conditions have been noted.
    Sesamum indicum Tun-path thalaa - kattel -
    Sesamum Orientale Tunpath thalaa - - -
    Sesamum prostratum ? - kattel -
    Sesbania grandiflora (Scarlet wisteria tree, Swamp pea, West Indian pea.) Kathuru Murunga කතුරු මුරුංගා अगस्ति (agasti), Varnari, Munipriya, Drigapalaka - அகத்தி (akatthi)- The word "murunga" and the hindi "munga" may have a common etymological origin.
    Click here for Sesbania Grandiflora   Small soft-wood tropical tree, ~9 meters in height, with large pink - or white flowers. The flowers are hermaphroditic pollinated by birds; the leaves are 20-25 cm long with oblong leaflets.
    Used as a fodder in south Asia, particularly for dry season feeding of cattle and goats. Commonly grown on paddy bunds, and around gardens or cropping fields for its nitrogen contribution. The sparse canopy of S. grandiflora casts relatively little shade, hence suitable close to sun-loving crops and gardens. S. grandiflora grows fast and used as an annual green manure crop. The wood is too light to be good firewood. The leaves, seed pods and flowers are eaten as "maellung" (cooked salad) in Sri Lanka. Claims that it contains 25-30% crude protein have not been confirmed. Various parts of Sesbania grandiflora have been used in the Indian system of medicine, in particular, the leaves of S. grandiflora are used in Ayurveda for the treatment of epileptic fits. The triterpene containing fraction of S. grandiflora exhibits a wide spectrum of anticonvulsant profile and anxiolytic activity. See Murunga
    Shorea robusta Sal agnivallabha, ashvakarna, ashvakarnika Kungkiliyam, Attam, Venkungilium, Chaalamban Toponyms SAALAPANA (Chalampan) Salgasweva (Chalampaikkulam) Saalakaenna (Chalampakerni) Salaavatha (Chilaw)
    Images and write up This name is also confusingly used for the cannon-ball tree. In Sri Lanka that usage is more common, while in India this is called Sal in several languages. The tree mentioned in Buddhist texts, growing in Kushinara in the Saala grove (c.f., The Buddha's Parinibbana) is probabaly a Shorea robusta. Salgaha in Sri Lanka is the Cannon-ball tree
    • Shorea hulanidda
    • S. dyeri
    • S. lissophylla
    • Shoria oblongifolia
    • S. palleescens
    • Shorea stipularis
    • Hulan Idda
    • Yakahulu Dun
    • Malmora
    • Dummala
    • Rathu Dun
    • Nawada, Navada, Hulan Idda
    - - Threatened, IUCN red listed.
    many of these trees produce useful resins, and oils. `Dummala' is well known. see Dummala, traditional resin
    There is a place-name called `Dummalasooriya'.
    Sida periplocifolia Vilvae~ra විල්වෑර - - -
    Sida rhombifolia (Arrowleaf sida, Indian hemp) kotikan baebila,
    babila, Sithalulaka, Sulubalila
    "bevila" (common Sinhala name for Sida varieties)
    naagabala, mahabala kurunthotti Sida rhombifolia is an Ayurvedic herb, known also as "Gajabalaa",or gajapalaa. It is a very small perennial plant. Leaves, stem, bark and roots are usable parts.-
    According toDymock, Warden, Hooper: Pharmacographia Indica (vol. I, pp. 206-207) :
    Sida carpinifolia, Sida cordifolia, Sida rhombifolia, Sida spinosa, Malvaceae.   The plants belonging to this genus are known in Sanskrit by the general name Bala. Five kinds of Bala are mentioned in by Sanskrit medical writers under the name of Pancha-bala, viz., Bala, Nāgabala, Mahabala, Atibala and Rajabala. The Hindus regard the roots of the different species of Sida as cooling, astringent and tonic; they prescribe them in nervous and urinary diseases, and in fever. The root bark is beaten up with milk and sugar, and aromatics and stimulants are sometimes added. (For original prescriptions, see Dutt's "Hindu Materia Medica," p. 121.) In the Concan the leaves of S. cordifolia (Chikana) with other cooling leaves are applied in ophthalmia; the root-juice is used to promote the healing of wounds, and the juice of the whole plant pounded with a little water is given in 1/4 seer doses for gonorrhoea. The root of S. carpinifolia (Tupkaria) is applied with sparrow's dung to burst boils. The Mohammedans consider Bala to be aphrodisiac. Ainslie notices several species of Sida, and the uses to which they are applied by the Hindus. The author of the Bengal Dispensatory, after a trial of the roots of Sida carpinifolia, was unable to satisfy himself as to its febrifuge action, but it was found to promote perspiration, to increase the appetite, and to act as a useful bitter tonic. In Goa the Portuguese value it as a diuretic, especially in rheumatic affections; they also use it as a demulcent in gonorrhoea. In Pudukota the plant of S. humilis, Willd., is ground with onions and administered with for gonorrhoea. Its Tamil name is Pelambaci. S. rhombifolia is called in Australia "Queensland Hemo," and in N.-S. Wales "Lucerne," as cows are very fond of it. It is also called "Jelly-leaf" on account of its mucilaginous nature. In the various species of Sida we have demulcent and emollient properties combined with bitterness.
    Silybum marianum (Silymarin, Milk Thistle) rath-Ikiriya ? - - Introduced palt, rarely, up-country.
    The seeds are used medicinally. hepato-protective herb containing Favanoids, polyphenols etc., but not established via relaible experiments.
    Image   Wikipedia
    Simmondsia Chinesis (Jojoba) Godawavletiya, Godavavletiya ?- - - Image, Jojoba tree
    Solanum indica, s. indicum family: Solanaceae
    Image and write up
    Thibbatu, batu brahati- karimulli, mulli Thibbotuvaeva (Mullikulam, Mulliyan) BatuvaevKanda (Mullikulam Malai) Thibbotuwala (Mulliyawalai) Batumunna (Kumulamunai)
    Used in many herbal and ayurvedic medications, herbal teas, for coughs, fever etc. Comonent of the herbal tonic Dashamoola arishtaya
    Solanum melongena (prickly night shade) Elabatu -bhantaki valutalai An older name, "singhi", is mentioned in B. Clough's 19th century dictionary.
    Solanum melongena, Sol. macrocarpon (Brinjals, Egg Plant) Wambotu, Vambatu, Vambotu Vatimgana kattari There is a sinhalese saying, "Ata wambotu, nava hungan dunnaa vaagei", i.e., "eight brinjals, but nine taxes to pay". This is based on a story about a man went to sell eight brinjals in a village where there were nine headmen. He had to give each headmen a brinjal, and his basket to the ninth, just to get permission to enter the village.(John Seneviratne's book of proverbs).
    Solanum mauritianum Wal varaa - - Dumpalaava (Thumpalai)
    Solanum seaforthianum Wal Thibbbatu - - -
    Solanum surattense (Yellow berried nightshade) kauvael batu, kahabatu - nitiktika, kantankattirai Used in many herbal and ayurvedic medications, herbal teas, for coughs, fever, asthma, rheumatism (leaf); sore throat (fruit) etc. Component of the herbal tonic Dashamoola arishtaya
    Solanum trilobatum Vael Tibbotu alarka- tutuvalai, thuthulai -
    Solanum xanthocarpum; synon: S. Surattense, S. virginianum, S. jacquini katuwael Batu nidigdhika- kantakari kantankattiri See under S. Surattense
    Solemostemon rohindifolius Innala - - -
    Sonneratia caseolaris, Sonaratia caseolaris (mangrove apple) Kirala - ucittakarai Irlaikkulam, KuriKadduvan, Kilali
    Sophora tomentosa (yellow-neckless pod) Moodu Murunga - - Sophora tomentosa Family: Faboideae / Leguminosae / Papilionaceae The inedible pod has some similarities to the Murunga pod. It has been used to make fish poisons, insect and spider repelleents etc., esp in Africa.
    Spilanthes acmella,Acmella oleracea (Tootache plant) Akmella Pipulka- Akki-rakaram Images and write up It is used for toothache. Chewing the leaves, or applying a tincture of the flowers or the fresh juice to the gums, when both pain and swelling are relieved.
    Spinifex squarrosus Maha Raavana Raevula - - -
    Spondias magnifera Sarana - - see under Adampan
    Stemodia camphorata
    Stemodia. Lutes;
    Gona Kola
    ගෝන කොල
    S. Lutes is `kaha gonakola'.
    - - -
    Strychnos potatorum Ingini - - TThe seeds (ingini aeta) are used traditionally to "purify" water in wells.
    Stachytarpheta dichotoma Sudu balunakuta -- There is also a Vil nakuta -
    Stachytarpheta mutabilis maha balunakuta - - -
    Stachytarpheta urticaefolia Balunakuta - - -
    Stemonoporus Mooni (Thwaites) Hora wel, Hora vael - - The Walawwewatta Waturana: the unique swamp forest
    Stemonoporus wightii (Thw.) Hal-Mendora - - IUCN red listed.
    Stemonurus apicalis Uruhonda - - -
    Sterculia balanghas Nava, Nawa - - -
    Stereospermum chelonoids, syninym: Bignonia chelonoides Ela-Palol - ambu used in the medicinal tonic Dashamoola aristaya, see S. Sauveolens
    Stereospermum suaveolens, Sterospermum suaveolens
    S. personatum,
    Bignonia Suaveolens
    (trumpet tree, snake tree )
    Palol Paataala,
    patirimaram Images for Palol and pharmacy.
    Middle-sized flowering tree. Plant parts are used in the Sri Lankan " Dashamoola Arishtaya", and in Indian medicine. It is used to treat inflammations, vomiting, dyspepsia, flatulence, asthma, fevers, anasarca, "diseases of the blood". A decoction of the roots is used to treat intermittent and puerperal fevers, inflammatory chest affections, etc. The ethanol extract of the bark is found to show Antihyperglycemic and Antioxidant Activity.
    Streblus asper
    Sandpaper tree, Siamese rough bush,
    toothbrush tree ; (Salvadora persica is also known as "tooth brush tre)
    Nitul, Gaeta Nitul, Netul Shakhotaka, Saakhota, pathrollekhatharu pira, piraay, Parai-maram ( Urumpirai is a Village in the Jaffna peninsula.
    Twigs are used as toothbrushes. The tree bark ("khoi" in Thailand) is used for paper making. The Buddhist texts and official records before the twentieth century in Thailand are known as khoi books (c.f., Sanskrit name: patrollekhataru - i.e., lekhana on pathra). The paper is durable even in high-humidity climates.
    Strobilanthes calycina
    Acnthaceae family
    kaha Nelu
    Image and brief notes
    - - -
    Strobilanthes hookeri Sudu Nelu - - -
    Strobilanthes pulcherrima, S.-viscosa Nelu Image and some notes - - -
    Strychnos nux-vomica (Snake wood tree) Kaduru, Goda kaduru kalshti, kupilu, Vishamushti yetti, ettiu, Eddi, Etti, Kagodi Kaduruthuduva (Kanchirankuda), Kadurumotte (Kanchuramoddai) Kadurugoda (Kandarodai)
    Contains the strongly poisonous alkaloid Strychnine and Brucine. It is used in Ayurvedic and Homeopathic medicine, as well as for suicidal portions etc. The wood is used for making Thovil masks-Ritual masks used traditionally in low-country rituals and "exorcisms", but today mainly as wall decorations. Images and write up
    Strychnos potatorum Inginiya kataka- Theatta, terran kottai Toponyms Inginidoova (Thettativu) Gaetakuliya (Tettakkuli) Inginiyagala
    Sunaptera scabriuscula (Thw.) Trim. Napath Beraliya - - IUCN red listed
    Swietenia macrophyllaHonduras mahogany.
    Meliaceae family
    Burutha - tettankottai Important Timber tree.
    ToponymsKaluburuthamaduva (Kollamarutamadu) Buruthamaduva (Maruthamadu) Buruthoya (Maruthodai)
    Swietenia mahogni (Mahogony)
    Meliaceae family
    Burutha - tettankottai Important Timber tree.
    ToponymsKaluburuthamaduva (Kollamarutamadu) Buruthamaduva (Maruthamadu) Buruthoya (Maruthodai)
    The Mahogany tree is a favoured commemorative plant, e.g., the Horana mahogany tree planted by Ernesto Che Guevera when he visited Sri Lanka in the 1960s. It is also depicted in a stamp.
    Symplocos cochinchinensis
    synonym: Symplocos stawellii
    Bombu බෝඹු Lodra, Tilvaka, Tilva, Kramuka- kambli-vetti
    Malayalam : Pachotti.
    The place name "Bombura" (central province) may be related to this plant name.
    Twigs of this plant is used as `toothbrushes' in rural Sri Lanka, in the same way as `Karanda' twigs.
    Images etc.
    medicinal uses It is claimed to be an anti-diabetic tonic. `kashaya" made of its bark is used for inflammation, asthma, cough, ulcers, skin diseases, arthritis, leucorrhoea, diarrhea, and skin discoloration. Antibacterial activity of the plant extract has also been reported. antibacterial screening of plants
    Reg. anti-diabietic action: see Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 134, Issue 2, 24 March 2011, Pages 298-304 doi:10.1016/j.jep.2010.12.018
    Symphylum officinale (Knitbone) - - Traditonal non-Sri lankan medicinal herb and weed. Used in healing bones, and as an ointment for dry skin. It has poisonous alkaloids. It grows in Eurasia and rarely found, or unknown in Sri lanka.
    Syzygium cumini Madan, Maadan - naaval The bark is used in indegenous medicine. The berry, rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants, is edible but not collected commercially.
    Syzygium fergu
    Family Myrtaceaesoni
    Val Karabu, Wal karabu - - Image
    Syzygium jambos (Jamun tree, rose apple) Jambu - perunavalGeorge Willty, campai "The word "Jambu" occurs in the classical name "Jambudveepa", as applied to the Indian continent. Old Sri Lankan place names like Dambakolathota (Kankesanthurai) Dambakolapatune (Sambilithuai) are well known. Note that "sampa" was a name used for "Brahma", and hence "Jambudveepa" may have simply meant the "Land of the Brahma", rather than the land of "Jambu trees". The fruit may have got the name "Jambu" from the alternative meaning of the word which referes to the color "Jambu", or "damba", or "campa". Thus "Jambuka" is a name applied to the red fox, taken over even to Tamil as "campukam"
    Syzygium makul Alubo - - -

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Tabernaemontana coronaria (Crape Jasmine) Watusudda - nantiyavattam
    Tabernaemontana divaricata (Pinwheel flower)
    See flowering plants of the family Apocynaceae
    Wathu sudda, Watusudda, Watu sudda, Vathu sudda, Vathu-sudda nandivrksah- adukkunandiyavattai, nandi-battai, Nandiar-vattai This flowering plant, with double petaled flowers, is very common in Sri Lanka, in wet-zone hedges and Buddhist temples. It is considerd to be an introduced species. "Vatu-sudda" in sinhala could mean "clean garden", "holy garden", or "garden white". Plants related to this, e.g., tabernanthe iboga, is not found in Sr lanka, have gained currency as hallucinogens, and in alternative HIV "treatments" which have not been investigated systematically. The plant has a milky sap, and the petals end with a sub-extension. Image and write up
    Tamarindus indica Siyambala amlika, tintrini, tintili puli, puliyamaram This name of the tree occurs in many place names.
    Mahasiyambala vaevkanda (Paddiapuliyankulammalai) Mahasiyambala weva (Periyapuliyankulam)

    Siyambala is an important part of Sri Lankan food preparations, often replacing Goraka (Garcinia cambogia, also known as Malabar tamarind).in many dishes. It is used in chutneys, sauces, relishes and curries.

    It has been a part of folk medicine from ancient times, with Tamarind being prescribed for use instead of Salt in Sanskrit texts which also claim that Krshna, Vishnu and Indra favoured the shade of this tree, Today, the tree is used in Bonsai gardens as well.

    The pulp of the fruit contains tannins, saponins, sesquiterpenes, alkaloids and phlobatamins. Extracts are active against gram+ and gramnegative bacteria, against Salmonella paratyphi, Bacillus subtilis and Salmonella typhi, and against Staphylococcus aureus. It contains antioxidents and phenolic components such that Tamarind may be an important source of cancer chemopreventive natural products in the tropics. See Y. Sudjaroen et al. Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 43, Issue 11, November 2005, Pages 1673-1682 and references therein

    It is a common for health remedy in Asia. It is used as decoction for the treatment of gastric and/or digestion problems,as a laxative for stomach disorders, general body pain, jaundice, yellow fever and as blood tonic and skin cleanser. Leaves are used as a herbal infusion for malarial fever, the fruit juice as an anti-septic, and scurvy and even cough cure. Tamarind has been found to lower serum cholesterol and blood sugar levels (in animal studies).   traditional medicine write up   Thus traditional remedicinal uses are:: Anthelminthic (expels worms), antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, asthma, astringent, bacterial skin infections (erysipelas), boils, chest pain, cholesterol metabolism disorders, colds, colic, conjunctivitis (pink eye), constipation (chronic or acute), diabetes, diarrhea (chronic), dry eyes, dysentery (severe diarrhea), eye inflammation, fever, food preservative, food uses (coloring), gallbladder disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, gingivitis, hemorrhoids, indigestion, insecticide, jaundice, keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), leprosy, liver disorders, nausea and vomiting (pregnancy-related), paralysis, poisoning (Datura plant), rash, rheumatism, saliva production, skin disinfectant/sterilization, sore throat, sores, sprains, sunscreen, sunstroke, swelling (joints), urinary stones, wound healing (corneal epithelium)
    Taxus baccata (Europen Yew), Taxus wallichiana
    Image and write up
    Yoo gaha, Thaelipath (? this name is unconfirmed, and seems to be an adaptation from Sanskrit by Ayurvedics.) Talishpatra, Mandhuparni, Sukapuspa
    The sanskrit name 'mandukparni' refers to the leaves of the plant, which resembles the claw
    The name 'taxus' probabaly arose from the Greek "Toxus", or "toxic", and used as an arrow-poison. The name 'Taxus' is sometimes claimed to arise from the sanskrit stem "Taksh", the cutter, and the tree branches were used to cut out bows (taxus = spear, taxon = bow). Baccata referes to its berries (in latin bacca is berry)
    Thalishapaththiri, தாளிசபத்திரி Not native to Sri Lanka. But (occassionally) found in horticultural applications in upper elevations.
    This is a very slow growing evergreen tree which can attain great age. Trees as old as 1000 years are found in Normandy, France (If in French for yew), in Wales etc., often with a chapel attached into the trunk of the tree. It is poisonous, but has become famous for "Taxol", claimed as an "alternative medicine" for various types of cancer, etc. Medicinal claims
    Tecoma stans (Yellow Elder) rankaerali, Kelantissa?, Kaelanitissa? - tankarali, swarnaptti national flower of the Bahamas
    Tectona grandis (Teak, Indian Oak) The~kka (~ signify long sound) Saaka, Sabarasaara, Kolaphala, bardaru, bhumisah, dwardaru, kharchchada thekku The sanskrit "Shaaka" → "Thaaka" → "The~kka" in Sinhala
    Telosma cordata(Chinese violet)
    Family: Apocynaceae or Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family) Images and write up
    Vael varaa (?)
    Fragrant Telosma is an evergreen woody twiner vine, not well known in Sri lanka.
    -Guaalmanda ? Chambangi Extremely frgrant vine, natibve to China, Thailand etc. The flowers are used in Thai cooking.
    Tephrosia purpurea (wild indigo) Kathurupila, Pila sarapunkha- kavali, kolluk-kay-velai Plant of the pea family. the leaves and seeds contain tephrosin, which paralyzes fish. Larger doses are lethal to fish, but mammals and amphibians are unaffected. It is used in sinhlala orthopedic medicine. Kathurupila is claimed to be used in the treatment of glandular swellings, spleen diseases, cancerous tumors, enlargement of liver and spleen, diabetes and skin diseases, since centuries in south Asia. Images and write up
    Terminalia arjuna Kumbuk kakubha- maruthu, marutu Place names: Rankumbukka (Sainthamaruthu)
    Image and writeup
    Bark is used as cardiac tonic. Powdered bark-decoction is used in South-Asian medicine to treat heart diseases, bone fractures, skin diseases, polyuria, white discharge, giddiness, fever, leprosy, worms, excessive thirst, wounds, diarrhoea and intrinsic hemorrhage. Fruits used externally to heal chronic ulcers.
    This may be a component of Maruthu Neer, a herbal concoction used for ceremonial bathing to celebrate "Puthandu" (Tamil New Year).
    Terminalia bellirica, T. Bellerica,
    (Beleric, bastard myrobalan, Belliric Myrobalan )
    Bulu Bibhitaki, Bhaira tanri, tanikkay, Pulu Place names: Mahabulukanda (Periyapullumalai) Buluweva (Tandikkulam)
    The nuts were used as dice in ancient times, from when the Sanskrit name "kali". It is part of the "Aralu, Bulu, Nelli combination of Tripala , a mild laxative used in S. Asia. There are tanning agents in the crushed bark and fruit. It is a major constituent of other Ayurvedic Tonics, sinhala "kashaya" etc. It is included in cough mixtures, sore throat preparations etc. The crushed dried fruit is available in tablet form and sold as alternative medicine in the west.   Images and notes.
    Terminalia catappa (tropical Almond) Kottan, Kottamba tailaphala- nattuvadumai, nattu-vadam< Kottandoova (Kottantivu) Kottangolla (Kottanchole )
    The tree may grow to 30 meters, with large ovoid glossy dark green leaves which change into orange and red when about to fall. The "false" nuts are inside a hard shell. Tropical Almond
    Terminalia chebula Aralu Haritaki - kadukkai .an ever green medium sized to big sized tree. The fruits are the most important product. It part of the "Aralu, Bulu, Nelli combination of ,Thripala a mild laxative used in S. Asia. The are strong tanning agents (Cherubulinic acid, tannic acid, Gallic acid) in the crushed fruit and bark. It is widely used in south asian medicine in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, heart-burn, flatulence, dyspepsia, liver and spleen disorders. It is a major constituent of other Ayurvedic Tonics, sinhala Kashaayas. The dried crushed fruit is available now in tablet form in the west as part of herbal medicine.   Images
    Terminalia chebula Hari-taka haritaki- katukkay -
    Thelypteris Bergiana, (synonym of Amauropelta hakgalensis)<>/i> also: Thelypteris maemonensis, (Amauropelta, Christella etc. are a large group of ferns) Kakilla, Kaekilla - - Image Amauropelta hakgalensis is a threatened species. Hakgala is a region not far from Bandarawela in the South-Eastern slope of the central hills of Sri Lanka.
    Thespesia populnea SOORIYA, Suriya, Gam sooriya Plaksa, kapitana, parisa puvarasu, Poovarasu Sooriyaweva (Poovarasankulam) Sooriyadoova (Poovarasantivu) Kuda-sooriyaweva (Sinnapuwarasankulam) Kanda-uda-sooriyaweva (Kanthaudaiyarpuvarasankulam)
    This is a Ficus species, popularly used as a fence tree. Its leaves are used for treating skin infections.
    Thunbergia fragrans - - intiraputpi
    Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme
    Image and write up)
    Thyme, Vana-Yavani

    The plant is not natural in Sri Lanka, nut can be grown in the dry, cooler hills of the Uva, and similar areas when planted. ~silver thyme' and `lemon thyme' pleasently aromatic are hardier varieties.

    The name vana-yavani is used in Ayurveda, and most probably borrowed from Sanskrit. The account of thyme given by Ms. M. Grieve is worth reading.
    Vanya Yavani,
    There are many varieties of thyme, and some are not culinary but used as ornamental plants.
    Omam ? It is a pungent-pleasant smelling herb, due to the presence of essential oils, terpenes, thymol etc. The herb is used in Mediterranean and French cooking. Antiseptic and other medicinal properties are exploited in `alternative medicine'.
    Tinospora cordifolia, Cocculus cordifolius (Indian Tinaspora) Rasakinda amrta, Guruchi- seenthil, cintil, Shindil-kodi, Amirthavalli, Kunali Rasakindala (Amirthakaly) This plant is highly valued in'Sri lankan traditional medications. It is claimed to help reduce Gout, arthritis etc. It may be an ingredient of Ayurvedic preparations like Haritaki,Vibhitaki, amalaki. A well known preparation is known as "Dhathimodaka". Unfortunately, double-blind evaluations of these medications have not yet been done. Images and write up
    Tithonia diversifolia (tree marigold)
    Asteraceae family Imags and write up
    Wal-Suriyakanthi, Val sooriya, Wata Suriya - - This is a "giant" species. It is a flowering plant (like a marigold), belonging to the Aster family and introduced to Sri Lanka, found middle elevations. In the early 20th century, wild Sunflower, Wal Suriyakantha Tithonia diversifolia was a most important green manure in Lanka for paddy fields
    Toddalia aculeata - - milakaranai
    Toddalia aculeata Kudu Miris - milagaranai -
    Torenia asiatica Wael-Kothala, Wael Kotala, Wel Kotala
    වැල් කොතල
    - - -
    Trianthema decandra Maha Saarana, maha-sarana - catti caranai small edible herb, referred to as "Sithandika" in Sinhala medicinal texts. The name "sulu-saarana" also exists, and presumably refers to a small-leaved variety.
    Trianthema monogyna Sarana - - -
    Tribulus terrestris (Puncturevine, Caltrop, Yellow Vine, and Goathead) Gokatu, Nerenchi Goksura,Gokantaka, Svadanstra etc, sembu nerenchi, neruncil, nerenjikeeraai Prostrate vine - generally less than 2.5 cm high, spreading to 1.5 M or more depending on climate. This is used in the traditional " Dashamoola arishtaya" of Sri Lanka, a concoction containing 10 ingredients. Used as a remedy for impotence, perhaps by increase of testosterone etc but not firmly established).. The active chemical in T. terrestris is likely to be protodioscin (PTN) The botanical name identification may have some problems, as indicated by Gunatillaka and Sotheeswaran: J. Natn. Sci. Coun. Sri Lanka vol 8, p 11-29 (1980) [Garcinia morella has also been given as Gokatu] pictures
    Trichodesma indicum (Indian Borage)
    Images and write up
    Adhapuspi pankatavikakkoti, Kazhuthaiththumpai It is found on roadsides and stony dry wastelands, upto 1,500 m. The plant is acrid, bitter in taste.
    Trichodesma zeylanicum (Camel Bush, Cattle bush) Images and write up Thrikantha Jalasirasa (Hindi) kalutaikkali A weedy species of roadsides, disturbed ground and old lands
    This plant is used in Ayurveda for the treatment of leucoderma and piles.
    Trichopus Zeylanicus Image and write up Bim pol
    However, this has little to do with "pol", i.e.e, coconut. The fruit can be eaten, and the leafe looks a bit like a large betal leaf. Flowers are purplish black
    Arogya pachcha- - A herb native to Lanka, and found in the wet low lands, and also in Ritigala. The fruit is said to give strenth and vitality, and the Sanskrit name means "Health giving green". The export of the herb is forbidden in Sri Lanka presumably to privent bio-piracy. However, little is done in Sri Lanka about commercializing it. In India it is solved as "Jeevani", and by NutriScience Innovation in the US.
    Trichosanthes cucumerina, Tr. anguina Pathola, Dummalla, Dummella, Dummaella - Pudulankaai A type of Gourde and vegetable. A variety of Pathola is used with other herbs in treating Rheumatoid arthritis (known in Sinhala as Gambheera Vatha Raktha) in Sinhala herbal medicine and Ayurveda. The decoction contains Dummaella (Trichosanthes cucumerina), Katukarosana (Picrorrliza kurrooa), Asparagus roots (Asparagus racemosus), etc. with Erandu oil (oil from ricinus communis seeds). Image
    Trigonella foenum (Fenugreek) Uluhaal, uluhal Methika, Peetbeeja Vendayam This a small plant in the Pea family, and the plant as well as the seed are used in cooking. The seed is used in pickles and curry powders. Used as condiment in S. Asian cooking.
    Fenugreek auguments lactation of nursing mothers, shown to lower serum cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein in human patients and experimental models of hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia. Fenugreek seeds reduce metabolic symptoms of type-1 and type-2 diabetes by reducing serum glucose and improving glucose tolerance. Fenugreek in ayurveda

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Ulex europaeus (Gorse)
    Family: Fabaceae.
    ? - - Gorse is a very thorny species with bright yellow flowers occurs in large number in the upper hilly-grasslands. According to the 'Status of forest invasive species in Sri Lanka', N.D.R. Weerawardane and J. Dissanayake, Forest Department Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources This species was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1888 and has invaded natural ecosysytems in the hill country of Sri Lanka. It is a prickly evergreen shrub with profuse yellow flowers. It reproduces by re-sprouting from stumps and by seed. Heavy seed production and long seed viability make it troublesome to control. It is confined to high altitude areas in the country. The biodiversity of the Horton Plains, a nature reserve, has been significantly affected due to the spread of this invasive plant. Several attempts have been made by community organizations to eradicate this weed by uprooting and burning, however, these efforts have only been marginally successful.
    Urandra apicalis Uruhonda, Urukan - - - - - See: Gunatilleke, I.A.U.N. and Gunatilleke, C.V.S. 1991. Threatened woody endemics of the wet lowlands of Sri Lanka and their conservation. Biological Conservation 55(1): 17-36.
    Urena lobata Eapala - ottuttutti, ottatti --
    Uraria Picta Pusvaenna, Pusvenna Prushniparni- - The name "sinha-puchchi" (lion's tail) has also been used in sinhala medical works. It is an annual woody erect herb or under-shrub with edible seeds. Herbal component of Dashamoola Arishtaya in India but not in Sri Lanka
    Utricularia stellaris Banduru ? - kutapaci, Kattuppaci -

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Vaccinium symplocifolium (-berry) Boralu - - Vaccinium sp. Patana (near World's End, Horton Plains), Low shrub: obovate leaves-
    Vateria copallifera Hal - Vellai-kungilian- We have not been able to find a picture of this tree. If you have an image, please e-mail it to
    The bark of this tree has been the subject of significant chemical and pharmocological studies in Sri lankan Universities.
    Ratnasooriya et al (2005) state that: "An aqueous bark extract of Vateria copallifera showed marked sedative activity, which supports the therapeutic effects claimed by Sri Lankan traditional physicians."
    Geewananda et al (2001) claimed "Another antibacterial polyphenol, copalliferol B, from Vateria copallifera".
    Sultan bawa et al had, in studies done in 1980s claimed that "A new resveratrol trimer, copalliferol A, isolated from Vateria copallifera, has been shown to have the structure (1) on the basis of u.v., i.r., 1H, and 13C n.m.r. spectroscopy, high resolution mass spectrometry, and biosynthetic considerations.
    The bark is sometimes used in toddy making to slow down fermentation.
    • Vatica paludosa Kosterm.
    • V. lewisiana (Trim. Ex Hook.f.) Livera
    • V. obscura
    • V. affinis
    • Mandora
    • ?
    • Dunmala
    • ?
    • ?
    - - Listed in IUCN Red Data Book (1999)-
    Ventilago madraspatana Yakkada Vael - curulpattai,pappili -
    Ventilago madraspatana - - pappili -
    Vernonia anthelmintica (iron weed, purple fleebane) SanniNaasa, krumisatru Simaraaji, Avalguja, Vaakushi, Aranyajirak kattuccirakam, canni nayakam A stout, much branched annual with cylindrical, striate, finely pubescent stems. 60 --90cm tall; leaves implc, alternate without stipules, 6. 5~cm long, 2. 5~ cm broad, lanceolate or elliptic lanceolate, much tapering to base, acute, coarsely and shiny. Medicinal Plant. The name "Krumisatru", used by sinhalese vedamahaththayas ("native doctors") is from Malayalam.
    The seeds of Vemonia anthelmintica are of well known in Sanskrit Materia Medica as a medicine for white leprosy (leuco-derma), and many skin diseases. It is referred to as an anthelmintic, but is not significantly used as such, except with a number of other medicines.
    Vernonia cinerea Monara Kudumbiya Dandotpala, Devasasha, Gandhavalli, vishvadeva, sahadev neyccitti, puvamkurundal, sahadevi Thoppigala, Kuda-Dimbulgala (Kudumpimalai).

    Images Juice is used against insect bite, skin probelms etc. Its flowers are useful in treating conjunctivitis
    Averrhoa carambola (star fruit) Kamaranga, kaamaranka, carambola - - Origin in he Malayan region- Used in Orthpedic medications in Sri lanka
    Vernonia Zeylanica Pupula - - Medicinal, Fractures,Eczema
    Vetiveria zizanioides (Vetivar) Savandara
    Images and write up
    - vettiver, kuruver Aroma therapy, perfumes, Medicinal: Oedema,Anorexia,Urinary diseases
    Vicia faba L (Field beans) Bonchi - Mochai- Introduced into Sri Lanka by European invaders.
    Vigna marina Karal Leema - -- -
    Vigna radiata (green gram) Mung, Moong मासपर्णी Masaparni karumpayir see also Phaseolus aureus Roxb., Phaseolus mungo auct. etc. Valuabale food with protein content for vegetarians
    Vigna unguiculata (cow pea, blackeye pea) Mae karal - Kaaraamani or Karamani Payir or Thatta Payir - There are many species of pea, or "mae". Vanduru mae, val mae etc. sorting out pea species
    Virikta Vilanda vaenna - - -
    Vitex altissima (Peacock chaste tree) Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena family) Milla
    The tree may grow to 40 meters. Images and write up
    Atulam, tilakam, Mayurukha mayilatinocci, mayilainochi, Maila, Mayilaadi timber is valued and used in construction and carpentry. The leaves, flowers, bark, root etc., are used in Ayurvedic medicine.
    Vitex negundo (Chaste tree)
    Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena family)

    A variant of Vitex negundo is Kalu-Nika, or black Vitex negundo. A shrub-like tree with pointed leaves with 3-5 leaflets. Small, lilac or violet flowers The truly black variant is very rare.
    Nika, sudu-nika
    Images and write up
    The Sinhala proverb "Like having eaten Kalu-nika: 'kalu nika kaala vagei" suggests that it has the capacity to produce mental confusion. But the common variety (not black) merely contains anti-histamines, and is helpful against asthma. The leaves are a mosquito repellant.
    Martin Wickremasinghe, the eminent sinhala novelist of the 20th century has written the work "Kalu-Nika seveema"
    Nirgundi, Sinduvara, Indrani
    Many commercial companies in India claim to supply this due to its 'antimicrobial activity.
    Karunochchi, Ven nocci, Nochi Place names with Nika-
    Nikamotte (Nochchimoddai), Nikagasmunna (Punochchimunai), Nikawaratiya,
    Giranikke (killinochchi) was an ancient bird sanctuary and location of Lumbini Vihara. It was a sleepy hamlet in the Vanni, when the LTTE retreated to it and made it their administrative location, after they lost the Jaffna Peninsula. During the 'cease-fire agreement' the town became the 'capital' of the 'de-facto' Eelam of the Tigers. It fell to the government forces on the 2nd of January 2009.

    Vitex pinnata Milla - - -
    Vitex trifolia Mee-ang Milla - nir-nochi See under Vitex negundo, or place-names: Giranikka, Kilinochchi
    Vitis pedata Midi,මිදි - kattuppirandai -
    Vitis Vinifera Midi, මිදි Mudrika - The wild variety, Vitis sylvestris (Val-midi වල්මිදි in Sinhala).
    Grapes are cultivated in the Jaapanaya (Jaffna), and Giranikke (Killinochchi) regions of Sri Lanka.

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Walsura antidysentricum,Nerium zeylanicum Wal Idda, Wal Idda, sudu Idda, Gal Idda - valsura Endemic in Sri lanka. The name Walidda derived from the sinhala name. Five petaled white jasmine-like flower, often used in Buddhist worship. Image The plant is used in Kaedum-Bindun (othopedic) medications.
    Walsura pisidia, Walidda piscida Kiri Koon - cattuvakku The bark is said to be thrown into kill fish withour unwholesome effect. B. Clough's Sinhala-Englsih dictionary, p 119
    Walsura trifolia Kiri Koon, ක්‍රි කෝන් - cattuvakku Trees up to 15 m tall. Images
    Wattakaka volubilis Anguna - kodippalai -
    Wedelia chinensis Ranwan Keekirindi- - manjalkarilamkanni -
    Withania somnifera Amunkara, aswaganda, Ashwagandha Ashwagandha- Amukkrang Kilangu, amukkira This is a herb (nightshade family) used in an Ayurvedic preparation known as Ashwaganda Choorana, used for Parkinsons desease (Kampa vatha in Sinhala), stress relief, aphrodisiac, etc. This is now available as capsules in the west and in Japan under western patents, often under the name "Ashwagandha". Scientific confirmation of its efficacy requires more detailed double-blind tests which have not been carried out. However, it is cheaper for western drug companies to market it as an alternative remedy and avoid the important clinical tests. Not to be used by high-blood-pressure patients.
    Woodfordia fruticosa Malitha - velakkai, kattaddi A straggling shrub, about 3.6m high with long, arching branches, a cinnamon brown bark shredding off in fibres- leaves simple, opposite, exstipulate, sessile, 7.5 cm long, narrowly ovate-lanceol
    Wrightia antidysenterica Pethi Idda, Val Idda kutaja Vet palai ? used in Bonsai
    Wrightia religiosa Idda Mal kutaja - -
    Wrightia Zelanica Idda Mal, Kelinda ? - - -

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    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Xanthium indicum Urukossa ? - peymati,pirakatti -
    Xanthium strumarium Uru Kossa - marhe-matta, marul-umathan -
    Xanthochymus pictorius, Xanthocymus pictorius Kolon gaha, Kollan gaha - - The name "Kolon" is mistakenly used in "street etymologies" trying to `"expalin" the place name "Kolomba" (Colombo). However, the name Kolomba has little to do with the Kolon tree, or the "Kola-amba" tree (a type of Mango). The name originated from being a "suburb of Kolontota". ("near Kolon-thota"). "Kolon-thota" itself refers to the exit point of the river Kelani where there has been an ancient capital since pre-Buddhist times, mentioned in the Pali chronicles. The usage Kolon-(asa)maba indicates suburbs around Kalyaana-pura (modern Kelaniya). The Portuguese took over the sinhala place-name "Colomba" and redefined it as "Colombo".
    Xanthochymus pictorius, Image, leaves, flower and fruits The latin name of the tree is given as Zanthocymus pictorius in B. Clough's entry (1892)
    Xanthosoma family (Tahitian taro) the name "habarala" is used loosely in Sinhala for these plants, and also for the Alocasia and Colocasia families. Kalu-habarala (Kalu habarala, has a purple leaf/stalk) Cplacasia?, Daesi-ala, rata ala are various types of Xanthosoma. the name "Kalu habarliya" has been used for maba Buxifolia, a satinwood tree which has no relation to these plants. - - Ornamental habarala Plants are a good export
    Tubers edible, leaf-stalks occasionally eaten. Pacific bulb society article, Images   Images etc
    Xylocarpus granatum Mal Kadol, Mutti kadol - - rare mangrove
    Xylopia championii Dath Kaetiya, Dath Kaetiya (Athketiya ?} - - This is common sub-canopy ground under cover in the Sinharaja and other rapidly dwindling forests of Sri lanka.
    Xylopia championii Hook. f.&Thoms. (Annonaceae) is endemic to Sri Lanka. The antioxidant and antifungal activities of five alkaloids, oxopurpureine, (+)-laudanidine, (−)- discretine, nordicentrine, and dehydrocorytenchine, isolated from the stem bark and stem of X. championii, were studied for anti-oxidant anti-fungal/bacterial activity by Puvanendran et al (Peradeniya University Pharmaceutical Biology 2008, Vol. 46, No. 5, pp. 352–355).-
    Xylopia nigricans (Hook. f. & Thoms.) Heen Kenda, Heen Kaenda - - Threatened species
    Xyris indica Ran Manissa, Rata Mota - - Medicinal: Ring worm,Laprosy,Itch

    Y, Z
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    It is a creeper, flowering at the stem joints, visited by many butterflies. Ornamental ground cover. Beverage used for the treatment of worms. -->
    Botanical Names, (English) Sinhala Sanskrit (Pali) Tamil Toponyms, Notes
    Zanonia indica Val Rasakinda - - -
    Zapania nodiflora
    (Carpetweed, Common fogfruit, Common lippia)
    Hiramana daetta - -
    Zeuxine regia Iruraja - - -
    Zeuxine regia Iruraja - - -
    ingiber officinale (Ginger) Inguru ardraka- injzi, chukku One of the most important constituents of hebal medical preprationsi, as well as south-asian cooking.
    Ziziphus jujuba Massan, Kaekuru badara- ilandai, Nari-ilantai KAEKURUVILA (Koandaavil) Kekuruwatte (Vatharawathai)
    Ziziphus mauritiana Debara - - munnatimatu, pallavaparunicceti -
    Ziziphus napeca Yak Eraminiya - - -
    Ziziphus rugosa Maha Eraminiya - chusai -
    Ziziphus xylopyrus Kukuru - katalcirai-
    Ziziphus xylopyrus - - mullutuppai-
    Zornia diphylla - - cirupalatai-

    Commercial and traditional 'alternative'-medicine preparations
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      There are several types of alternative medicine.
    • Medical systems based on earlier beliefs about the nature of matter and sickness. Thus ancient Indian, and Greek beliefs recognized the elements (earth, water, air, fire etc), and also the humours of the body (air, bile, phlegm etc) and their interactions as the cause of disease. The role of bacteria, viruses, and even the role of blood were not understood. However, since recognition and cure of deceases are largely empirical and practical, large bodies of herbal knowledge, intermingled with unsatisfactory theory, exist in such traditional practices.
    • Modern "invented" forms of alternative medicine, e.g., homeopathy are a very different matter. Here we quote Robert Parks, a scientist and science commentator attached to the University of Maryland.
      "The 18th century German inventor of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, believed in "vitalism," a spiritual essence that goes beyond physics or chemistry. This is by no means unusual; most people believe in spiritual or religious cures even today. "Medicine is most powerful," Hahnemann wrote, "when it communicates nothing material." Hahnemann's counter-intuitive solution was to eliminate the cure. This he did by sequential dilution. Alas, Loschmidt had not yet determined Avogadro's number. To be certain that "nothing material" remained, Hahnemann typically used a dilution of 30C. That is, the substance was diluted to one part in 100, shaken (not stirred) and then diluted one part in 100 again, 30 times. This would exceed the dilution limit of the entire Earth, which is to say it's a meaningless result. ..... Compare that to Oscillococcinum, which is also marketed as a homeopathic cold remedy. The active ingredient is an extract of the liver of the Barbary duck at a ridiculous dilution of 200C. That would exceed the dilution limit of the entire visible universe and is thus totally meaningless. The average consumer is totally unaware that he's shelling out 10 bucks for a teaspoon of sugar.
      [note by CDW for bot2sinhala : 1/100 repeated 30 times gives a dilution of (1/100)30, i.e., 1x10-32. That is, virtually not one molecule of the "medicine" would remain in any serving of medicine. Only the "belief" in the power of the medicine would be there to help the patient ]
    In the following we do not discuss homeopathic medications. Only Ayurvedic or popular Sri-Lankan herbal medicines are discussed.

    The listing of these preparations does NOT mean that we endorse them or that we have tested them.
    Adequate testing requires double-blind experiments in controlled clinical settings with good laboratory support. However, anecdotal evidence should not be simply discarded. They often provide an alternative, inexpensive treatment for many ailments, in a manner which is entirely at the control of the patient, usually based on intake of herbs, and change of life-style. However, the explanations as to why a medication works, offered in terms of thri-doasha theories like va, pith,sem, which do not recognize the role of microbes, viruses, genetics, and modern biochemistry are only of interest to the historian of science.

    Double-blind experiments enable one to evaluate the extent of the Placebo effect in the claimed efficacy of a drug. In a double-blind experiment, the same drug and a mock-up (fake) which looks/tastes/smells like the drug are given to two similar control groups of patients, without anyone knowing who is getting what. If the fake (i.e., the placebo) performs as well as the drug, then the drug is worthless. Sometimes double-blind experiments are done even at the level of in-vitro or animal tests, to eliminate any possible bias on the part of the experimentalists and technicians conducting the tests.

    Quack-detection - snake-oil vendors

    Purity of the ingreadients used, reproducibility of the preparation and consumer protection are very important.

    Experiments have revealed the presence of toxic ingredients like Lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), harmful alcohols (e.g., methanol, propanols etc)
    , as well as extreme variation in the fraction of active ingredients in commercial Ayurvedic preparations. This is due to lack of quality control. Some of these experiments have been done at Nawinna Ayur. center, Sri Lanka, as well as in WHO studies.
    Use of certain herbs, e.g., Aristolochia indica (Indian Birthwort) to attenuate fever, may be dangerous as it is believed to be carcinogenic, and contains aristolochic acid which is highly nephrotoxic. It has been claimed in a WHO report that Stephania tetranda should be used in herbal preparations instead of Aristolchia fanghi or A. Indica.

    It should be noted that the ancients failed to understand the toxic nature of mercury and other heavy metals Thus Ayurveda recommends Mercury as "the saviour of mankind" and deliberately uses it in many preparations. See the old Ayurvedic claim that physician who does not know how to use this merciful gift of God (Mercury) is an object of ridicule in society

    Article by PLNdeSilva, ex-chairman Ayurvedic Drugs Corp

    Herbal Preparation Details
    Chandraprabha Vati It contain Thippili (Piper longum), Gammiris (Pipper nigram), Ginger (Zingber offcinale), Kaluduru (Cyperus rotundus) etc. is taken orally (e.g., as two tablets), twice a day. It is a diuretic.

    Herbal Preparation Details
    Dashamoola aristaya, Dasamul arista, Dashamula Tonic It is a herbal preparation and contains about 63 herbs, plums, juggery (kitul molasses), honey and water. The name "Dashamoola" comes from the fact that it has ten main component herbs (dasa in Sinhala is ten). The ingredients are fermented for a month in a barrel. The result is a sweet wine (arishta) of exceptional taste. The medicine is claimed to have anti - inflammatory properties, and to be a calming agent. It is used for Back Pain/ Sciatica, other types of rheumatism, and many other ailments . The prescribed dosage is usually one tablespoon, twice daily, or sometimes one oz. before meals In Sri Lanka it contains,
    1. Aswenna - Alysicarpus vaginalis 2. Polpala - Aerva lanata 3. Ela batu - Solanum melongena 4. Katuwel batu - Solanum xanthocarpum 5. Heen Nerenchi (gokatu) - Tribulus terristris 6. Thotila - Oroxylum indicum, also Spathodea indica, L., Bignonia indica, L 7. Beli fruit - Aegle marmelos 8. Eth demata - Gmelina arborea 9. Palol - Stereospermum suaveolens 10. Heen medi - Premna integrifolia (premna spinosa)
    Dashamoola in India is a concoction of the roots of Aegle marmelos, Gmelina arborea, Oroxylum indicum, Clerodendrum phlomidis, Stereospermum chelonoides, Desmodium gangeticum, Uraria picta, Solanum indicum, Solanum surattense and Tribulus terrestris. It can contain many other roots even upto a 100, even though the name is "Dashamoola", (or dasamoola, see under Dashamoola) and varies from region to region in India.
    Uncontrolled fermentation may lead to the presence of harmful alcohols (e.g., methanol).

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    Herbal Preparation Details
    Maellum, Maellum, Beheth Maellum, බෙහෙත් මැල්ලුම් Beheth Paste, beheth roti etc. See Beheth Mallum etc., for Traditional Sinhalese Orthopaedic treatments, by Ediriweera and Grerub, 2009
    Neelayadi Thailaya, Mahaa Neelayaadi thailaya Oil propsed for head massage and hair coloraton in the Indian sub-Continent. It is said to contain:
    • Indigofera tinctoria - Indigo (nil aevariya)
    • Cocos nucifera - Coconut oil (Pol thel), or Palm oil. Other oils are sometimes used.
    • Adenanthera pavonina- Madatiya tree. Some prescriptions require Red Sandalwood in the form of Rath-handun which is Pterocarpus santalinus (see write up).
    • Monochoria hastata -arrowleaf (moodu awara)
    • Acronychia pedunculata - -(ankenda)
    • Additonal ingredients are used locally. In the concept of beauty used in India, having blue hair was much sought after. This oil was probably an early form of hair dye based on indigo.

    Herbal Preparation Details
    Peyaava, Peyava, Peyawa, Pe~ya~va (where ~ indicates elongation of sound) A soluble, standardized commercial form of Peyava is sold under the name Samahan by Link Natural products. See under Samahan. remedy for colds, fever etc
    Praanajeeva, Pranajeeva, Pra~najeevaA herbal oil marketed by a private company [sethsuva (Pvt), 258/19 Vihara Mawathe, Batalanda Road, Makola South]. It costs about $12-15 for half a bottle (in 2009-2010). The label on the bottle attributes the following to the venerable monk (Ven. Vaga Gnanaloka Thera) who began the preparation of this medication, based on recipes said to be from an Ola-leaf manuscript: I say with confidence, after having consumed this oil for 20 years, that Pranajeeva oil will not only cure prevailing ailments, but that its daily intake will also boost one's immune system there by preventing other infections and diseases. It is my experience that within a short span of two minutes from the time of in-taking this oil the prevailing ailments and discomforts disappear. The reason for this type of effect that this oil has, according to my belief is that it is a proven, ancient cure and the fact that much care and interest are taken in the making of this oil and the correct herbs are always used.
    If a spoon of oil (about 25 cc) is swallowed by a patient, it goes into his tummy which has about 1000-3000 cc of fluid, depending on his/her size. The absorption of oil by the body happens only after the stomach passes the mixture of oil and gastric juices into the intestines. The intestines of most people are many meters long and contain much volume, and further dilution takes place.. So, the absorption of even a small amount oil into the body does NOT take place at least for about half an hour.
    • So the oil cannot act within a short span of two minutes, as claimed, from the time of in-taking this oil. Only the mind can act so fast.
    • Further, the oil is not ailment specific, but claimed to be good for "any ailment". Some write ups claim its efficacy for clearing blocked blood vessels, or even cancer
    Thus the placebo effect of the oil may be very important.

    Herbal Preparation Details
    Seetharama, or Seetha-Rama pills Small herbal pills given for fever, cold etc., and the herbal mixture seems to vary with different practitioners, and contains ingredients similar to various pe~ya~vas..
    Samahana, a commercial product (link Natural products) similar to Peyaava Peyava (Pe~ya~va, where ~ implies elongation) is a preparation containing fourteen different herbal ingredients including spices and condiments which are used in daily culinary preparations. The main ingredients of Pe~y~va are (as in Pas-panguva) are: Pathpadagam (Oldenlandia herbacea Linn.,Mollugo cerviana ), ginger, coriander, katuwelbatu (Solanum virginianum), pepper, sometimes cinnamon, liquorice. If "venivael-gaeta" (Coscinium fenestratum )is added to the Pe~ya~va, the preparation becomes bitter but it claimed to reduce fever. Used for colds, fevers etc

    Herbal Preparation Details
    Tripala, Tripala Kawatha, Thipal kasaaya, Tipal තිපල් This is even listed (page 211) in B. Clough's classic Sinhala-English dictionary of the 19th century.
    It contains Aralu (Terminalia chebula), Bulu (Terminalia belirica), and Nelli (Phyllanthus embelica) cooked together. regarded as a colon cleanser, and digestive aid to regulate obesity. This is taken orally, two tablespoons, one to three times a day. It is also commercially available as a tablet. Nelli is extremely rich in Vitamin C. The preparation has a mild laxative action and releases the heavy feeling after excessive eating.

    Herbal Preparation Details
    Aquavite for Dimentia, Alzheimer's etc. This a typical example of a certain class of `western' alternative medicine. Aquavit means `water of life', and is a genre of usually strong alcoholic spirits, sold for medical or recreational drinking. One such recipe has been given by Michel Adams et al., of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology, University of Basel, Switzerland (, ascribed to Tabernaemontanus of the 17th century. It uses Arial parts of (1)Achillea mille- folium (Asteraceae), (2)Adiantum capillus-veneris (Pteridaceae), (3)Horminum sp. (Lamiaceae), (4) Eryngium caeruleum (Apiaceae), (5) Foeniculum vulgare (Apiaceae), (6) Petroselinum crispum (Api- aceae) (7) roots of Asparagus officinalis (Asparagaceae) (8) Cichorium endivia (Asteraceae) extracted with good wine. This concoction is then distilled. Then (9) cinnamon (Cinnamo- mum verum, Lauraceae), (10) caraway (Carum carvi, Apiaceae), (11) either lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, Lamiaceae) or valerian (Valeriana celtica, Valerianaceae), (11) ginger (Zingiber officinale, Zingiberaceae) (12) pepper (Piper nigrum, Piperaceae) are added alongside more good red wine. Then (13) roots of greater galangal (Alpinia galanga, Zingiberaceae), (14) lovage seeds (Levis- ticum officinale, Apiaceae), (15) Caryophyllus sp. (Caryophyllaceae) seeds, (16) nutmeg (Myristica fragrans, Myristicaceae) and (17) Piper cubeba (Piperaceae) are placed in the concoction before it is left for 8 days and then again distilled. Finally, to com- plete the aquavit recipe, (18) musk and (19) amber are added. This remedy should be mixed with wine and consumed regularly by old people to strengthen the head, brain and memory according to Tabernaemontanus (1687), who made a strong emphasis on the quality of wine used for its preparation.

    n.b., commonly, wines contain ~11% alcohol. Each distillation step brings out the alcohol and the volatile essences. .

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