Flora & Funa
Tropical rainforest covers much of the southwestern part of the island, where teak and ebony grow. Orchids abound in the lush forest. The hills in central Sri Lanka have the perfect climate for tea cultivation and whole hillsides are dedicated to growing this compact, dark-leafed camellia for its fragrant leaves. It is in the cool hills that most of the commercial vegetables such as peppers, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce are grown. The coasts are more arid, with low scrub and grasslands, and it's here you'll see tall coconut palms lining the roads. Outside of the city, most homes have their own stands of papaya and mango trees, banana plants, breadfruit and jackfruit trees. Many of the ornamental plants that adorn temples and homes are not native to the Indian Sub-continent but are so familiar now that their origins seem unimportant. Indeed lantana, with its clusters of red and orange blossoms on a prickly shrub, is a native of the Americas but now grows in almost impenetrable thickets in parts of Sri Lanka. The fragrant frangipani, originally from the West Indies, with its white/yellow or pink flowers, is a common tree found outside homes and temples throughout the country.