baobab Tree at Mannar
මන්නාරම් බයෝබැබ් ගස
- Tree with the largest Trunk in Sri Lanka-
The baobab ( also refereed to as biobab boab, boaboa, bottle tree, upside-down
tree, and monkey bread tree) is a native tree to Africa, Madagascar and
Australia. There are 8 species of boabab, 6 in Madagascar, 1 each in
Africa and Australia. The tree is also referred in Sri Lanka as the Ali-Gaha
( Elephant Tree) since the bark of the tree resembles a skin of a Elephant
Tamils refer to it as ‘Perukka’.
The baobabs in Sri Lanka is believed to have been brought by Arabian Traders.
According to a study done in 2003, there are about 40 Baobab Trees
surviving in Sri Lanka, out of which 34 has been identified and measured
in Mannar. Most of the trees were calculated to be 300-400 years old.
The oldest and the largest baobab is at Pallimunei which is said
to be about 800 years old. This tree was calculated 723 years old in
the 2003 study. The circumference of the tree is is 19.5 meters
and its 7.5 meters tall. This is most popular of the all ( see images
taken in May 2008) due to its size and age. Despite the baobab being
an introduced species, it is protected in Sri Lanka given its rarity
and antiquity. In earlier times Baobab trees has been growing in Jaffna
(Yapanaya) and Puttlam too.
trees have always cought the eye of the early English travellers to
th country. Sir James Emerson Tennent in "Ceylon -
An Account Of The Island" ( 1860) speaks of many trees in the Mannar
area at that time.
The fort at Manaar, built by tho Portuguese and
strengthened by the Dutch, is still in tolerable repair, and
the village presents an aspect of industry and comfort.
But the country beyond is sterile and repulsive, covered
by a stunted growth of umbrella trees and buffalo thorns.
The most singular objects in the landscape are a number
of the monstrous baobab trees ,
whose importation from the western coast of
Africa to India and Ceylon is a mystery as yet unsolved.
The popular conjecture is, that it was the
work of the Portuguese; but the age of the trees, as
indicated by their prodigious .dimensions, is altogether
inconsistent with this hypothesis, and their introduction is probably
referable to the same early mariners
who brought the coffee-tree to Arabia, and the cinnamon
laurel to Malabar.
The huge and shapeless mass of wood in these singular
trees resembles a bulb rather than a stem. One
of the largest, at Manaar, measured upwards of thirty
feet in circumference, although it was a very little more
'The Book of Ceylon' by Henry W. Cave in 1908 too makes reference to number
of such trees in the area
Manaar is scarcely worth a visit. It represents a dreary
aspect in comparison with the rest of Ceylon, notwithstanding
that in earlier times it was regarded as a place of considerable
commercial importance from its proximity to India and the
yield of its pearl fisheries. It is now famous only for its baobab
trees (cidaiisonia digitata), which must have been imported
many centuries ago from the coast of Africa, but by whom
and for what purpose is a mystery. The peculiarity of this
monstrous tree is in its shapeless massive stem, Whose circumference
is equal to the height of the tree ....
The legendry Mannar Bridge Destroyed by the tamil tigers of LTTE
Driving Directions to Mannar baobab Tree
Directions to the tree can be seen at the Mannar town itself. Travel along
this road for 1 km and tree lies next to the road in an open space at
Route from Colombo
Route from Anuradhapura
Though : Chilaw - Putlam
distance :275 km
: 4 hours
Driving directions : see
on google map
Through : Medawachchiya
distance : 120 km
Travel time : 2.5 hours
Driving Directions : see
on google maps
Created :June 5, 2009
December 6, 2011