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The Endemic Flora

 The endemic flora of the sinharaja occupies a unique status it accounts for 64% t o75% of the total number of species recorded among the trees and lianes over 30 centimeters in girth. The contribution of the endemics to the forest stand ranges from 75% to 92%. In a single site studied for the vegetation below 30 centimeters in girth, 60% of the total number of species were endemic, and their contribution to the density was 85%.

                       It is also interesting to note that of the 25 genera endemic to Sri Lanka, 13 are represented in the Sinharaja. Several of these genera are monotypic i.e. they are represented by one single species (Table 6).

                       Endemic tree species considered to be rare have been identified in the Sinharaja as well as in other lowland rain forests. Studies show that 98% of al sub canopy species and 85% of all understorey species fall into the categories of "Rare", "Vulnerable" and "Endangered" as described by the International Union for Nature and Natural Resource Conservation (IUCN) Red Data Book. Of these endemic tree species, almost 25 species were restricted to a single forest site.

                       Similarly, of the 217 endemic trees and woody climbers of the rain forest region, 65% i.e. 140 species have so far been recorded in the Sinharaja. This percentage probably does not represent the actual value which could be greater. Although the smaller life-forms have been studied, their percentage values have not been computed as yet. 


Table 6. Endemic plant genera found in Sinharahja

1.   Schumacheria (Dilleniaceae)
2.   Trichadenia* (Flacourtiaceae)
3.   Stemonoporus (Dipterocarpaceae)
4.   Scutinanthe (Burseraceae)
5.   Pseadocarapa* (Meliaceae)
6.   Glenniea* (Sapindaceae)
7.   Leucocodon* (Rubiaceae)
8.   Schizostigma* (Rubiaceae)
9.   Championea* (Gesneriaceae)
10.   Hortonia (Monimiaceae)
11.   Podadeniya* (Euporbiaceae)
12.   Cyphostigma* (Zingiberaceae)
13.   Loxococcus* (Palmae)
* genus contains single species