Out little tropical isle is blessed with numerous varieties of fruits. A person not to have relished the succulence and excellence of them would be a rarity. But not everyone knows from where the plant originally came, nor its scientific name or how to identify the fruit plants. To fill that need, one would, compulsively be tempted to acquire a most pleasant book titled “A Selection of Fruits of Sri Lanka”.
“Fruits of Sri Lanka” was originally published by WHT Publications back in 1997. Its popularity at the time and its continued demand by its users led to its second edition, which has been released to the book stores recently. The scientific names have been updated to match current international databases. This hard cover publication has maintained the same colourful layout of its 70 pages.
It may surprise many, that not all fruit plants that grow in Sri Lanka are actually native to this country. In fact of the 85 fruit-producing species described in it, only a proportion are truly native. Of these, five species are endemic (found only in Sri Lanka). These are wild date, gal veera, Ceylon gooseberry and two species of goraka. Many species have been introduced from other countries down the ages.
Did you know that our popular pineapple is a native of tropical America? On the other hand banana is native to southern Asia from where it was introduced to tropical America. Have you tasted the fruit of hondapara (elephant apple) or its drink? Ever enjoyed masan, gaduguda or villuda?
The book is in a user friendly format. The English, Sinhala, and Tamil names, as well as the scientific name for each fruit plant is mentioned. This is followed by the description of the fruit bearing plants and then by the description of the fruit itself, its taste etc. While most details required by a wide readership are covered in the text, it is easily digestible!
This book, the only illustrated guide to fruits of Sri Lanka is authored by a husband and wife duo Jayaindra and Thivanshi Fernando. Jayaindra is a consultant surgeon working in the private sector in Colombo. The lovely water color illustrations that adorn the book were done in between Jayaindra’s postgraduate training back in 1995. Thivanshi is an IT professional. Together they travelled widely in the country, in search of genuine data as well as fresh specimens to paint.