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Seethawaka Wet Zone Botanic Garden

Description

Seethawaka Wet Zone Botanic Garden was established in Sri Lanka, serving as an observation region and a protected zone for exposed and defenceless endemic plant species in the Sinharaja Rain Forest region. This field also forms enhanced exportation floriculture, ex-situ conservation of wet lowland plants, and bamboo cultivation. The park was opened to the public in late October 2014, and it is the most newly constructed botanical garden in Sri Lanka.

Read More in Details

The rich history of the Seethawaka Botanical Garden dates back to the 20th century when it initially served as a plantation for Rubber and Tea owned by a garden known as "Pannaagula." However, due to circumstances, a significant portion of the land was abandoned and subsequently taken over by the Land Reform Commission. In 2008, the construction of the Botanical garden began, and it was officially opened to the public in October 2014. Spanning across 42 hectares (105 acres), the garden showcases the remarkable transformation of the land from its plantation roots to its current botanical wonderland.

Location and Climate

Nestled on the Puwakpitiya-Thummodara road at Illukowita, adjacent to the Indikada Mukalana Forest Reserve in Avissawella, the Seethawaka Botanical Garden enjoys a prime location within the tropical paradise of Sri Lanka. The garden experiences a delightful tropical climate characterized by its warmth and humidity, creating an ideal habitat for a diverse range of plant species. The presence of a beautiful stream flowing through the garden sustains the existence of various wet zone plants, adding to the garden's natural allure. The tree cover consists of majestic Terminalia arjuna trees, further enhancing the garden's serene ambience.

Flora and Fauna

Unlike conventional botanical gardens, the Seethawaka Wet Zone Botanic Garden predominantly focuses on plants rather than flowers. The primary objective behind its establishment is to conserve the highly threatened wet lowland forest flora, ensuring their preservation for future generations. This botanical haven showcases numerous lesser-known and endangered wet zone plants unique to Sri Lanka. The presence of a cool temperature, thanks to the ample Kumbuk foliage throughout the garden, provides a refreshing and comfortable environment for visitors to explore and appreciate the diverse flora.

Conservation Efforts

Conservation lies at the heart of the Seethawaka Botanical Garden's mission. Serving as a sanctuary for wet lowland plants, the garden actively contributes to the preservation of these vulnerable species. By providing a protected environment, the garden plays a crucial role in safeguarding the biodiversity of the Sinharaja Rain Forest region. It also raises awareness about the importance of conservation and the need to protect endangered plant species from extinction. Through its educational initiatives and conservation programs, the garden strives to inspire visitors to become stewards of nature.

Ex-situ Conservation and Research

In addition to its conservation efforts, the Seethawaka Botanical Garden serves as a center for ex-situ conservation and research. It offers a valuable platform for studying and understanding the intricate ecosystems of wet lowland plants. The garden collaborates with researchers and undergraduate students to facilitate scientific exploration and contribute to the field of botany. Through these research opportunities, experts gain insights into the ecology, behavior, and cultivation techniques of the diverse plant species found within the garden's premises.

Bamboo Cultivation

Bamboo cultivation is another significant aspect of the Seethawaka Botanical Garden's mission. Recognizing the economic and ecological value of bamboo, the garden promotes its growth and utilization. By showcasing various species of bamboo, the garden raises awareness about the versatility and sustainability of this remarkable plant. Through educational programs and workshops, visitors and local communities learn about the benefits of bamboo cultivation, which contributes to the promotion of eco-friendly practices and the conservation of natural resources.

Exploring the Garden

Visitors to the Seethawaka Botanical Garden can embark on an immersive and enchanting journey through its lush landscapes. The garden features well-paved paths made of stone, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable walking experience. Along the way, information maps and boards guide visitors, providing insights into the garden's different sections and highlights. The abundance of name tags on trees and plants facilitates easy identification, allowing visitors to learn about the various species they encounter. Every corner of the garden offers a picturesque view, capturing the essence of Sri Lanka's natural beauty.

Boat Ride and Man-Made Lake

A delightful highlight of the Seethawaka Botanical Garden is the opportunity to enjoy a serene boat ride on a man-made lake. This lake is ingeniously crafted using the natural water flow from the nearby hills, creating a tranquil oasis within the garden's expanse. Visitors can relish the calmness of the surroundings as they glide along the glistening water, surrounded by the vibrant greenery of the garden. The boat ride provides a unique perspective and a moment of tranquility amidst the vibrant botanical setting.

Summit View and Relaxation

For those seeking breathtaking views and a place to unwind, the summit of the Seethawaka Botanical Garden offers a perfect retreat. Visitors can reach the summit by following a beautifully paved path, and once there, they can indulge in relaxation while observing the breathtaking garden below and the surrounding mountains. The captivating scenery provides a sense of peace and serenity, allowing visitors to connect with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Tree and Plant Identification

The Seethawaka Botanical Garden is committed to enhancing visitors' knowledge and understanding of the diverse flora it houses. To facilitate easy identification, most trees and plants within the garden are thoughtfully marked with name tags. This educational approach enables visitors to familiarize themselves with the botanical wonders of the garden and appreciate their unique characteristics. As visitors explore the garden, they can engage in a self-guided tour, learning about different species and discovering the captivating stories behind each plant.

Growth and Expansion Plans

The Seethawaka Botanical Garden continues to grow and evolve, with plans for expansion in the future. The garden's current land area covers 79 acres (32 hectares), but ambitious plans are to expand it to 105 acres. This expansion aims to provide an even greater space for the conservation of endangered plant species and further enhance the research capabilities of the garden. Through these growth initiatives, the Seethawaka Botanical Garden will continue contributing significantly to preserving Sri Lanka's rich biodiversity.

Visitor Experience

Visiting the Seethawaka Botanical Garden promises an unforgettable experience for both local and foreign visitors. The garden offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the wonders of nature, surrounded by an abundance of vibrant plants and breathtaking scenery. The well-maintained paths, information maps, and name tags on trees ensure a seamless and educational journey through the garden. Visitors can engage in various activities, from leisurely walks to peaceful boat rides, providing moments of serenity and connection with nature. The garden's commitment to conservation and research is evident throughout, offering a deeper understanding of these efforts' vital role in preserving Sri Lanka's natural heritage.

How to Get There

Reaching the Seethawaka Botanical Garden is convenient for visitors. The garden is located on the Puwakpitiya-Thummodara main road at Illukowita, adjacent to the Indikada Mukalana Forest Reserve in Avissawella. If travelling from Colombo, the drive takes approximately an hour or slightly more, offering a scenic journey through the picturesque landscapes of Sri Lanka. With its accessible location, the garden invites visitors to embark on an adventure to explore the wonders of its botanical treasures.

Opening Hours and Accessibility

The Seethawaka Botanical Garden welcomes visitors every day of the year, allowing ample opportunities to experience its natural wonders. The garden operates from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, ensuring sufficient time for visitors to explore its various sections and engage in its activities. The garden strives to provide accessibility to all visitors, with well-maintained paths and facilities that accommodate individuals with mobility challenges. The staff at the garden are friendly and readily available to assist visitors, ensuring a pleasant and inclusive experience for everyone.

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