Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rhododendron arboreum subsp. zeylanicum

Flower Bud (Young)
Flower Bud
Engish    :  Azalea 
Scientific:  Rhododendron arboreum subsp. 
Sinhala   :  මහරත්මල් / අශෝක [Maha Rathmal /

R.subsp.zeylanicum is an endemic tree grows in highlands of Sri Lanka. It can only be seen in montane environments where elevation above sea level is greater than 1500 meters. It is the most prominent tree in grass lands of Horton National Park.
The existance of this flower in Sri Lanka has been reported by an Arabic traveler named Ibn Battuta in one of his documents. He has mentioned in his ancient writing that he saw a red color flower while visiting Adams peak about the size of a palm of the hand.
The flower is considered as the official flower of Central province of Sri Lanka. One of Its other sub species grows in montane areas of Nepal is considered as the national flower of that country.
Almost all parts of this tree (leaves, stem, fruits and flower buds) have been highly adopted to the cold and windy climate of growing environment. Leaves are rough and surface of the stem is thick. Flower buds are covered with hairs. fruits produce hundreds of tiny seeds to increase the chance of getting germinated.
Another species of Rhododendron can be seen in Sri Lanka named Rhodoendorn indicum which was introduced as an ornamental plant.

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