A Field Guide to Economically Important Plants of Sri Lanka
This book guides for the correct identification of medicinal plants offering a rich detail without cramming too much information onto a page. Of the 144 plant species described in this book, 135 are well known medicinal plants. Main botanical features for each plant species are given with color photos as a guide for correct identification. Eco system of Sri Lanka, development of plant classification systems, depictions of main plant parts and glossary of medical and technical terms provided at the beginning of this book would be useful to students and any beginner who wants to use this guide. We used botanically enhanced macro-photography to show unique characteristics aiding plant identification which is not always captured in classic nature photography.
This field guide follows the taxonomic classification introduced by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. The plants described here are first arranged phylogenetically and then in their respective families under different higher taxonomic categories which follows a structure that experienced botanists will be used. But, this guide averts potential slowdowns in non-botanists with colored signs, visual contents making it simple to navigate to the correct section regardless of taxonomic background. Vernacular names (in three languages with three indices), updated botanical names, medicinal and other economical uses are enumerated, further emphasizing the value of these plants. To facilitate identification in the field, we attempted adding substantial number of user friendly elements in this guide. Arrangement of plants according to the current classification in this guide provides an additional information about plant grouping which reflects evolution not only for botanists, but also for the non-botanists including medical students and practitioners of Ayurveda system of medicine, teachers, agriculturists, tourists and general public who are inquisitive of the fascinating plant life.
One major purpose of producing this field guide is to make the society aware of the ethnobotanical and cross-cultural importance of them which in turn will encourage the society to protect them. Additionally, this guide book is now popular among botany and Ayurveda students and culminated as an indispensable tool for the practical plant taxonomy course offered by the Department of Botany, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.
It is the lessening older generation of our villages who know of their environment and its value and protect it. Innumerable computer programs, mobile applications are available in the modern world aiding identification of plants, however limited in emphasizing their traditional ethnobotanical significance. This is where books of this nature can play a vital role in tempting and making the general public aware of their surroundings.