The mountains and the southwestern part of the country, known as the “wet zone,” receive ample rainfall (an annual average of 2500 millimetres). Most of the southeast, east, and northern parts of the country comprise the “dry zone, which receives between 1200 and 1900 mm of rain annually.
In terms of flora, the wet zone is one of the best places to explore due to its huge variety of spectacular Orchids, Hardwood Trees (including Ebony, Teak and Silk wood, Bamboo, and the spiritually significant Bo Tree), as well as many plants used in Sri Lankan Ayurveda Medicine. Sri Lanka ‘s central hill country is home to some fascinating cloud and dwarf (pygmy) forests as well as extensive grassland areas (such as the famous Horton Plains National Park).
Despite the island’s small land mass, Sri Lanka has one of the highest rates of biological endemism 16% of the fauna and 23% of flowering plants are endemic). Sri Lanka became the first country to set up a flora and fauna sanctuary at Mihintale in the 3rd Century BC. With over 12 per cent of the country designated for wildlife protection today, it is easy to spot birds and beats in their natural habitat
Sri Lanka’s fauna is equally diverse, with a total of 91 mammal species (including primates, predatory animals and ungulates), over 400 bird species, 83 species of snakes, 54 species of fish, and 5 endangered species of marine turtles, as well as 245 recorded species of butterflies. Of particular interest are the endemic, but notoriously shy, Leopards that have been spotted in Wilpattu National Park and in Yala National Park. Elephants can be seen in their wild in a number of the national parks, or you could visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, where you can watch the young animals being bathed and fed each morning. Cheeky Monkeys can be found around the island, as can Stray Dogs – both can be a nuisance at times but do not pose any serious threat to you. Get a chance to see Water Monitors, crocodiles, monkeys, eagles, mongoose, Egrets, peacocks and so much more. If you are a nature lover, this is definitely a chance you should not miss! The time between March and May is the period of blossom for many plants. The fiery-red Flamboyant (Poinciana Regia), the white-blossoming Nagastree and also the Tabebuia Rosea, similar to cherry flowers, are especially striking.
Among other crops growing on the island, one of the most lucrative plants is Sandalwood. It is an evergreen, which can grow up to 10 meters high. It feasts on the root systems of other species. Due to its slow growth, it has extremely dense and hard wood. Yellow-coloured aromatic essences may be obtained from the trunk and roots. It has a unique exotic scent and it has been used for centuries in aromatherapy and Ayurvedic medicine. These days sandalwood oil is widely used in cosmetics too.
Kothala Himbutu is a tree that only grows in Sri Lanka and is under protection. Extracts from the roots and stems of the plants are used to produce treatments for skin diseases, asthma, rheumatism, and more. Furthermore, we can not forget Katu anode (or sour soup), which is particularly interesting because of its therapeutic effects. According to scientific studies, up to 10 000 times more effective than chemotherapy. Kate anode has fruits weighing up to half a kg, which look like green pine cones and have a great sweet taste (just watch out for the seeds that will not eat).
Other plants that can be found in Sri Lanka, is one example. Fig trees, bamboos, orchids and many, many more.