Manel flower or Water Lilly (Nymphaea nouchali) is named the new National Flower.
Director of Biodiversity Secretariat Padma Abeykoon said that the cabinet of ministers had given approval for the change.
She said the decision was made by an expert panel. Debates sparked after an image of a different flower was used in place of Nil Manel.
She added that the Nil Manel is an exotic flower and Manel (white and light blue coloured) is indigenous to Sri Lanka. Manel grows in aquatic environments of the dry zone.
The Director of the Biodiversity Secretariat further noted that the native flower has less number of petals and does not resemble the currently used purple coloured Nil Manel.