In the Sinharaja, floristic studies of nearly 17,000 trees and woody
lianes above 30 centimeters girth revealed the presence of 211 species
belonging to 119 genera and 43 families. Several new species have been
discovered recently and about 15 species still remain to be fully
identified.Studies carried out on the under-storey vegetation below the
girth limit of 30 centimeters revealed that almost 50% of the total number
of species in the forest were confined to this group.
Several plant species known to be from the Sinharaja have not been
recollected in recent years, while others which were thought to be extinct
for a century or so, have been re-discovered e.g. ferns such as Lindsaea
repens, Tectaria thwaitesii and the Rutaceae shrub Glycosmis
cyanocarpa. Within the last decade some new species too have been
described e.g. Dysoxylum peerisii (Na-Imbul) and Mastixia
nimali (Diyataliya) named after the two scientists Savitri and
Nimal Gunatilleke who pioneered botanical studies in the Sinharaja.
A rare fern (Lindsaea
The dominant species and families in the sites studied have been summarized
in Table 5. Although Mesua nagassarium often shows single
species dominance in some areas, it also seems to be in co-dominance with
Dipterocarp species in others. Sometimes it can even be totally absent.
The species composition of the canopy seems to vary greatly, and no two
sites have the same combination of the dominant species. the sub-canopy
usually has several species in co-dominance. In contrast, among the under-storey
trees, treelets and shrubs and the ground herbs, two species seem to be
co-dominant in each stratum and these species do not seem to be site
specific. In other words, the under-storey of the forest appears to be
more uniform in its dominant species than the sub-canopy and canopy
A rare orchid, locally known as Wesak (Dendrodium macarthiae)
found in Sinharaja. It is an ephyphite with purple flowers. The
flowering season is mostly in May, coinciding with the Wesak
season celebrated by Buddists.
A rear endemic plant "Binara"