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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/209

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THE BOTANICAL GARDENS OF CEYLON

arid lands are practically treeless, but in Ceylon the forest is the natural plant formation even in dry areas.

With all of the different floras to be seen in the various parts of the island a botanist may get a good idea of the tropical world in a short time and with slight expense. The director of the gardens and his staff are anxious to have scientific visitors, not only botanists, but zoologists and geologists as well. Two rooms at the government Rest House (a kind of hotel) are reserved for scientific visitors and no charge is made for lodging, although, of course, table board must be paid for. The cost of living will be found to be not more than in other tropical countries with fewer advantages for study.

Ceylon has never attracted a great number of students, but a considerable amount of valuable work has been done there. Haeckel certainly obtained many of his philosophical ideas of the plant and animal worlds during his visit to the island. Modern science and philosophy owe much to the influence of Ceylon on his writings. But Haeckel's zoological collections were also valuable, and the collections of others at later times have added much to the world's store of knowledge in regard to tropical life. On the side of botany probably the name which is oftenest associated with Ceylon is that of the late H. Marshall Ward, who as a young man spent two years on the island studying the coffee disease. Although he worked out the etiology of the disease and the life history of the parasite, he was unable to devise a method of prevention. Henry Trimen, who was director of the gardens at Peradeniya for sixteen years, published the "Flora of Ceylon," which was completed by Sir Joseph Hooker in 1900, after the death of Trimen. It is interesting to note that Hooker had himself collected plants in Ceylon fifty-three years before. Of recent publications the work of Mr. Willis, the director, on a curious family of plants, the Podostomaceæ,

PSM V73 D209 Giant bamboos.png

Fig. 9. Giant Bamboos. Photograph by Macmillan kindly furnished by the director.