Sam Popham’s Arboretum

  • 14 - Sam Popham Arboretum

The arboretum was established over five decades ago in Dambulla, the geographical center of Sri Lanka, and expanded to 35 acres of abandoned “Chena” land. The arboretum has about hundreds of species of timber plants, flowery plans, herbaceous plants, climbers and parasites. There is a night walk starting at 7.00 PM which can be quite interesting. You can call the arboretum to arrange a visit, and if you are lucky you’d see the loris.

The arboretum was a project started in 1963 by a British planter named F.H Sam Popham, with a vision of conserving the tropical flora and fauna for future generations to come. At start it was a 7.5 acre area of land, and in 1989 after Sam gifted the project to the Institute of Fundamental Studies (IFS), Prof. Cyril Ponnamperuma, director of IFS initiated an expansion to a further 27 acres of land.  

The “Night Walk” through the wilderness is the main highlight in the Arboretum and you’d notice slender loris, a genus of loris native to India and Sri Lanka. If you are a group take a few flash lights of any sort. If you are a true nature enthusiast this is a must-see attraction in Sri Lanka