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The Fruits and Flowers of Sri Lanka

sunny 31 °C

The warm tropical climate, monsoon rains and fertile soils of Sri Lanka are a godsend for plants of all kind and it is difficult to imagine a more fruitful and productive land. Extensive forests of teak and other hardwoods survive despite generations of cultivation, but many areas have been cleared for tea, rice, vegetables and fruits. Vibrantly green rice paddies fringed by coconut palms are ubiquitous in the lowlands and there are many plantations of bananas and pineapples...
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However, most of the fruits we spotted in the forests and by the roadsides were seemingly growing wild. These are passion fruit...
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And this is a jackfruit...
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These enormous fruits weigh up to 80lbs and grow directly out of the trunk of the tree. Each tree can produce up to 200 of these giant fruits annually.Tender young jackfruit are used to make a starchy vegetable that is either boiled or fried. However, the sweet, juicy fruit inside a mature jackfruit is heavenly.
Citrus fruits grow in the cooler climes of the Central Highlands but we particularly love the exotic fruits that grow in the steamy jungles nearer the coast. Bananas, passion fruit, papayas, dragon fruit, prickly pears, avocados, custard apples and mangoes are all here in abundance, as are one of our favourite tropical fruits...
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These flamboyant little critters are actually rambutans.

Throughout Sri Lanka ramshackle roadsides stalls are laden with piles of inexpensive fresh fruit, while these exquisitely displayed selections are actually meant to be used as offerings at Hindu temples.
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There are many tropical fruits here that are rarely, if ever, seen in northern climes including wood apples and the hard spherical fruit of the aptly named cannonball tree. In Sri Lanka's Buddhist tradition, Buddha's mother Maya held onto the branch of a blossoming cannonball tree while giving birth the him. These trees are therefore sacred to Buddhists around the world.

All manner of semi-hardy flowers grow in the Highlands, especially roses, hydrangeas and wild rhododendrons, but the tropical flowers in the lowlands are particularly spectacular. These propagated orchids in the botanical gardens at Peradeniya were amazing...
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However, there are flowers everywhere in Sri Lanka, especially the brightly coloured bougainvillea and the delicate lotus blossoms that are used as offerings in the Buddhist temples...
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Many of the forest trees have delicate flowers in their canopies, while enormous kapok trees are smothered in a thick white blanket of cottony down. Our pillows and mattresses have been stuffed with synthetic materials for decades, but here in Sri Lanka there is no substitute for the natural kapok...
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Maybe the Sri Lankan's have the right idea!

Posted by Hawkson 04:01 Archived in Sri Lanka

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Comments

I am first on today as I woke up at 3am. It looks like better weather coming here. The flowers in Sri Lanka are so bright and beautiful. I am looking forward to seeing flowers coming here. love

by Jean McLaren

You can almost smell the flowers and taste the fruits. All lovely to wake up to this morning. Thank you.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Can't compete with flowers like that on Gabriola although the crocuses have dared to pop up in our front yard. I actually remember kapok stuffing in chairs when I was a boy. Certainly more comfortable than horsehair.

by R and B

Appreciated you taking time to give us these pictures. A good focus! Reminds me of my many years in Hawaii developing my own gardens. I can smell the fragrance. Did you find fruit of the mangosteen, the Queen of tropical fruits?

by Bob

Such natural beauty. Lovely to see.

by Janet

I can't help but notice the artistry of display of fruit stands, the care and attention to details, you care what you care for, they say, and I think that's true.. great pix and insights

Thank you

G

by Gottfried Mitteregger

Mmmmmm, passion fruit - my fave. All looks gorgeous!

by Joyce

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