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Seven Panu Karanda trees found in Gampaha district

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Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya Deputy Director Dr. Achala Attanayake said that seven well-grown Panu Karanda (Crudia Zeylanica) trees have been found in the Gampaha district.

She also said that these seven trees have been located in areas such as Bemmulla, Magalagoda, Radawana, Kandimahara, Doranagoda, Biyagama, Kadirana and Malwana through inspections conducted based on information provided by the public.

Dr. Attanayake said that although the real name of this tree in Sinhala is Panu Karanda, it is currently known as Pandu Karanda.

She went on to say that all these trees have been identified between the period 2019 and the first half of 2021.

Along with these seven well-grown trees, many other small plants of Panu Karanda have been found by the officers of the National Botanic Gardens Department.

This plant, which was included in the International Red Data List in 2006 as a plant facing extinction, was later named as an extinct plant in the National Red Data List in 2012.

This tree was rediscovered in 2019 by environmentalist Himesh Dilruwan Jayasinghe from Daraluwa.

Dr. Attanayake also said that nearly a 100 new Panu Karanda plants have been grown by the National Botanic Gardens Department from the seeds obtained from the seven trees found in the Gampaha district and the tree which was recently felled when constructing the Kadawatha–Mirigama Road section of the Central Expressway, which led to a great controversy.

She added that although this plant can be grown by branches, it can be grown easily using seeds.

Dr. Attanayake explained that this tree was first identified in the Kalutara Galpatha area around 1861 and at that time it was known by a different name. She said it was named Crudia Zeylanica in 1865.

“Although the place where this tree was identified in Kalutara was observed, we could not find any clues to where it exactly was. There is information that a tree of this type was in the Peradeniya Botanical Garden a long time ago,” she said.

She also said that although this tree is said to be unique to Sri Lanka, it appears that similar trees have been identified in other countries, but it cannot be certified without proper scientific verification.

The Deputy Director also said that the role assigned to the Department of National Botanic Gardens has been properly fulfilled with regards to protecting this variety of trees.

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