Sri Lanka plants ID'd as Ruellia prostrata and Bauhinia kockiana

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JTh

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I am aware that these are probably not mediterranean plants, but I also know that there are lots of extremely knowledgeable people following this site, so I’m hoping you can help me. I was in Sri Lanka in November, and I saw some plants I have not been able to identify, which is very annoying

The first plant was seen in the botanical garden in Peradeniya (near Kandy). The place is worth visiting, huge, mostly well-kept, and with many plants I have never seen elsewhere. Most plants were labelled, but not everything, like this plant covering an arch, I’m not sure if it is a climber or just a trailing bush being shaped to cover the arch. The flowers were quite unusual, with colours varying from yellow to orange.


_B075193 Flowering arch.jpg
by Jorun Tharaldsen, on Flickr


_B075196 Flowering arch.jpg
by Jorun Tharaldsen, on Flickr

The second one is a wild flower growing in Yala National Park in the very south. There were plenty of them, not very tall plants with pale lavender-blue flowers. I didn’t measure the size of the flowers, but I seem to remember they were about 3-4cm in diameter, the leaves were somewhat hairy, egg-shaped and slightly pointed.


_B095612 Tell me if you know the name.jpg
by Jorun Tharaldsen, on Flickr

« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 09:07:59 AM by Alisdair »
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John J

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Re: Identification of two plants from Sri Lanka
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2017, 10:32:18 AM »
Jorun, can't help with the climber but can I suggest you take a look at a wildflower from that area called Dipteracanthus prostratus for the second one.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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JTh

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Re: Identification of two plants from Sri Lanka
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2017, 12:20:18 PM »
Great, John, spot on. I suspected it belonged to the Acantheceae family, but couldn't get any further. It seems as if Dipteracanthus prostratus is a synonym for Ruellia prostrata, which is now the accepted name.

I thought this little wild flower would be the most difficult one, so now I hope somebody could help me with the first one as well. I have seen photos of this bush on the internet, but none of them have indicated any name.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John J

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Re: Identification of two plants from Sri Lanka
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 05:31:19 PM »
Glad to be of help, Jorun, and thanks for the update on the name change. I can't keep pace with all these taxonomist's changes. The climber does look sort of familiar but can't place it.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

Joanna Savage

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Re: Identification of two plants from Sri Lanka
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2017, 02:34:32 AM »
Hello Jorun, I forwarded your two photos to a UK botanist friend who has worked in Sri Lanka. He regretted that he had no Flora  of Ceylon at home. However, he suggests Bauhinia kockiana for the climber and says he would begin with Ruellia when searching for the blue flower name.
He also says  that the Climber Walk at Peradeniya does present some problems with identification and labelling. So it might even be that the label is not lost from your climber but that the Garden is not entirely sure of the identification.

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JTh

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Re: Identification of two plants from Sri Lanka
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2017, 10:46:00 AM »
Wow, I'm impressed, both mysteries solved so quickly, a great thank you to both of you. The description of Bauhinia kockiana is definitely fitting for the climber I saw. I did see some seed pods which told me it was probably in the family Fabaceae, but since there are around 720 genera and nearly 20.000 species to choose from in this family, I didn't have a chance without help. The climber was stunning, but I see that is is definitely not well-suited for the mediterranean climate, it needs lots of water, heat and high humidity, just like it was where I saw it.

Most of the labels in the botanical garden in Peradeniya seemed to be quite old and many of the names were not up-to date. It could very well be that this climber never had been labelled, like several of the other trees and bushes we saw, either because of lack of capacity or because they were not sure of the identification, as you wrote. There were quite a few people working on the maintenance there, but maybe the scientific staff is too small to be able to keep up with all the acquisitions.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.