Recent research has revealed that the national flower of Sri Lanka ‘Blue Water Lily or Nil Manel’ (Nymphaea nouchali) is facing the threat of extinction due to its hybridization with the violet flowered Nymphaea which is often misidentified as the national flower.
This research by Peradeniya University Botany Department Senior Lecturer Prof Deepthi Yakandawala and Wayamba University Horticulture and Landscape Gardening Department Senior Lecturer Dr Kapila Yakandawala has revealed a range of hybrids of these two varieties some closer to the native and some closer to the violet flowered Nymphaea which is acting as a silent invader. Prof Deepthi Yakandawala said that these hybrids are widely spreading over the country becoming a threat to the native original national flower.
“The violet flowered Nymphaea is thought to have been introduced into the country as an ornamental aquatic a long time back and has now got established in local water-bodies. It has been erroneously identified as the native variety in many literatures. It has not only invaded the natural habitats of the native variety, but has also extended its territory into larger tanks which are habitats of other aquatic plants."