The genus Nymphaea L. has two species in Sri Lanka, N. nouchali Burm. f. and N. pubescens Willd., which are commonly known by the vernacular names ‘Manel' and ‘Et-olu' or ‘Olu' respectively. Apart from these two commonly known Nymphaea species, another group exists by the vernacular name ‘Tel-olu' which has not been recorded in the literature. Field experience also indicated the occurrence of several morphological variants of ‘Olu' with very distinct character combinations that are not listed under the presently recognized species descriptions. Therefore, a phenetic analysis of morphological and anatomical data was undertaken to evaluate the existence of any other species of Nymphaea in Sri Lanka. Individuals representing species of Nymphaea were studied in detail and coded for morphological and anatomical characters. Multivariate methods of analysis, Cluster Analysis and Principal Component Analysis were carried out. The resulting clusters were evaluated based on the characters identified. The study revealed that the Nymphaea that is commonly known by the vernacular name ‘Tel-olu' is not an ‘Olu' species but a ‘Manel'. Further, ‘Tel-olu' showed several distinct morphological features separating it from ‘Manel'. Therefore, the study confirms the presence of an additional Nymphaea species in Sri Lanka. Further studies are needed to confirm its identity.
How to Cite:
Yakandawala, D. and Paebotuwage, I., 2009. ‘Tel-olu’ – is it really an ‘Olu’?. Ceylon Journal of Science (Biological Sciences), 36(2), pp.88–99. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjsbs.v36i2.483