Gampaha Botanical Garden
|Gampaha Botanical Garden|
|Henarathgoda Botanical Garden|
|Location||Gampaha, Sri Lanka|
|Area||43 acres (0.17 km2)|
|Elevation||33 feet (10 m) MSL|
|Operated by||Department of National Botanic Gardens, Sri Lanka|
|Open||Mon - Sun: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm|
|Status||Open all year|
Gampaha Botanical Garden, also known as Henarathgoda Botanical Garden is situated in the suburb of Gampaha. It was established in 1876 by the British to conduct experiments on exotic economic plants such as Rubber, and explore plant wealth and development of economy in the colony. The first imported rubber tree to Sri Lanka was first planted in this garden and it was the first seedlings of Brazilian rubber tree ever planted in Asia. The garden consists of a large variety of plants and many of them are from every corner of the tropical world it is expanding over 43 acres (0.17 km2) and situated next to the Attanagalu Oya and surrounded by paddy fields, a man-made green environment and a secondary forest as well laid out with lots of interesting sections, eye-catching landscaping and many shrubs, bushes and trees. This garden is a famous destination for youngsters.
The Garden was laid out in 1876 to introduce and experiment Para Rubber to South Asia by the British rulers after the seeds smuggled out from the Santarém, Pará, Brazil by British explorer Sir Henry Alexander Wickham. First Rubber seedlings were imported to Ceylon from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Project was handed over to Muhandiram A. de Zoyza who was the first Curator of the Garden. The trees blossomed in 1880 and from the next year Rubber seeds were distributed throughout the country as well as some other British colonies in South and Southeast Asia. Remnants of these first Rubber trees are now protected as a national monument. Forest Department, Sri Lanka(1887) was responsible for all major plant introductions for economic and environmental development in the Henarathgoda Botanical Garden. Activities that followed resulted in the development of economic and plantation crops, emergence of important state departments such as Department of Agriculture(1912) and institutions for the development of Plantation Crops such as Rubber. Later the garden was developed as a standard Botanical Garden by adding and developing new plants and sections. Many of these trees of the 19th century are still available in the Garden. Original extent of gardens was about 36 acres (0.15 km2) in extent an additional 7 acres (0.03 km2) was added in 2005. It now serves as a tropical low country Botanic Garden and after the establishment of Department of national Botanic Gardens in 2006, the Henarathgoda Botanical Garden functions as a division under it.
The newest additions to the 143-year-old botanical garden include boat rides at the Attanagalu Oya and a bridge over the river. The garden hosts an extensive collection of palms, orchids and trees endemic to the country. The garden is also home to nearly 80 bird species including ten endemic species, 18 species of mammals including Sri Lankan flying squirrel(Petaurista philippensis) and 12 species of butterflies and 10 species of dragonflies. It is divided into an orchid garden, which hosts a rare specimen of Queen of Orchids(Cattleya), forest path, palms garden, Japanese garden, Educational garden and a medicinal garden, which houses a collection of trees producing arrow poison from Africa and Malaya such as Antiaris toxicaria. Although the garden is open to the public throughout the year, the best period to visit the botanical garden is following the monsoon season which leaves the foliage brimming with vibrancy and in numerable blooms.
As one of the island’s most renowned institutions for conservation, the Henarathgoda Botanical Garden is also actively engaged in the development and education of the country’s floriculture and botanical research.
Henarathgoda Botanic Garden is situated about 18 miles (29 km) north-west of Colombo and within 1 kilometre (1,100 yd) from the Gampaha Railway Station, and not more than 500 yards (460 m) from the Gampaha-Minuwangoda road.
- "Gampaha Botanical Garden". WikiMapia.org. 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- "Henarathgoda Botanic Gardens - Gampaha". The Government Information Center, Sri Lanka. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- "Gampaha Botanical Garden - BGCI". Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- "Sri Lanka Botanical Gardens". Go-Lanka.com. 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2012.