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National Park

Henarathgoda Botanic Garden

  Province Western
  District Gampaha
  Type of the Gardens Botanical
  Established 1876 AD
  Governing body Department of Agriculture
  Area -
  Introduction

Henarathgoda Botanical Garden, is always on the must see list of the tourists and for very good reasons. This botanical garden is on comparatively low lying areas compared to other botanical gardens in the island.

Henarathgoda Botanical Garden is located around thirty kilometers north-west of Colombo, near Gampaha off Colombo-Kandy road. The variety of trees in this botanical garden is simply mindbogglind and some of the trees are from far away places like Brazil. Every tropical tree has been represented, or rather trees are there from every corner of the tropical world. It is really something to see a tree from as far away place as Brazil, specially if the tree is something so unusual as the Para rubber tree. The scientific name for this tree is hevea brasiliensis. The garden is open every day but most beautiful during the monsoons as most of the trees are at their green best. In this context it is to be mentioned that in Sri Lanka there are rains at least twice a year, the long wet season helps the gardens to maintain the year round verdure.

In 1876 AD, the first seedlings of Brazilian rubber tree ever planted in Asia, grew and prospered in Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens. It is interesting to note that perhaps this single factor helped in the establishment and proliferation of the rubber industry in Southeast Asia. Several south east Asian countries are engaged in rubber trade and industry which contribute significantly to the exchequer of the country.

Varieties of flowering acacias are well adapted to the arid conditions and flourish on the Jaffna Peninsula. Among the trees of the dry-land forests are some valuable species, such as satinwood, ebony, ironwood, and mahogany. In the wet zone, the dominant vegetation of the lowlands is a tropical evergreen forest, with tall trees, broad foliage, and a dense undergrowth of vines and creepers. Subtropical evergreen forests resembling those of temperate climates flourish in the higher altitudes. Forests at one time covered nearly the entire island, but by the late 20th century lands classified as forests and forest reserves covered only one-fifth of the land. Ruhunu National Park in the southeast protects herds of elephant, deer, and peacocks, and Wilpattu National Park in the northwest preserves the habitats of many water birds, such as storks, pelicans, ibis, and spoonbills.

During the Mahaweli Ganga Program of the 1970s and 1980s in northern Sri Lanka, the government set aside four areas of land totalling 1,900 km2 as national parks. The island has three biosphere reserves, Hurulu, Sinharaja, and the Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya.