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Common Name : Ceylon Date Palm     -       Scientific Name : Phoenix pusilla (Arecaceae)       -       Other Name : Indi (E)
Maila Wewa
Maila Wewa

This is a species, which is endemic to Sri Lanka and Southern India. It is very common in the lowland areas of the dry zone.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as Least Concerned. (National List 2012).

Four species of butterflies, Common Palmfly, Tree Flitter, Indian Palm Bob and the Yellow Palm Dart, lay their eggs on this palm and their caterpillars feed on leaves.

I have seen this palm in all the dry zone National Parks, open dry zone forested area and fields in the dry lowlands of the country. The long leafs of this palm is collected by villages to produce various woven products. The mid rib of the leaf is removed and the rest is boiled and sundried. The ripe berries are quite sweet and are sought after by the village children.

The seeds of this palm are used in Ayurveda medicine to treat fever, peptic ulcers, general weaknesses and cardiac debility.

In Wilpattu it is usually found in open localities such as Maradanmaduwa and Mila Wewa areas. I have observed the flowers in February and the bright red coloured fruits during the month of June. Many species of birds and Spotted Deer feed on these berries.