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Title: Begonia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ornamental bulbous plant, Pink flowers, Michel Bégon (1638–1710), Gardenview Horticultural Park, Annual plant
Collection: Begonia, Flowers, Garden Plants
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Begonia obliqua
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Begoniaceae
Genus: Begonia
Type species
Begonia obliqua L.

Begonia is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the family Begoniaceae. The genus contains about 1,400 different plant species. The Begonias are native to moist subtropical and tropical climates. Some species are commonly grown indoors as ornamental houseplants in cooler climates. In cooler climates some species are cultivated outside in summertime for their bright colourful flowers, which have sepals but no petals.

Pink flowering Begonia


  • Description 1
  • Taxonomy 2
    • Species 2.1
  • Cultivation 3
    • Horticultural nomenclature 3.1
    • Cultivars and cultivar groups 3.2
  • Popular culture 4
  • References 5
  • Gallery 6
  • External links 7


With more than 1,600 species, Begonia is the sixth-largest angiosperm genus.[1] The species are terrestrial (sometimes epiphytic) herbs or undershrubs, and occur in subtropical and tropical moist climates, in South and Central America, Africa, and southern Asia. Terrestrial species in the wild are commonly upright-stemmed, rhizomatous, or tuberous. The plants are monoecious, with unisexual male and female flowers occurring separately on the same plant; the male contains numerous stamens, and the female has a large inferior ovary and two to four branched or twisted stigmas. In most species, the fruit is a winged capsule containing numerous minute seeds, although baccate fruits are also known. The leaves, which are often large and variously marked or variegated, are usually asymmetric (unequal-sided).


The genus name Begonia, coined by Charles Plumier, a French patron of botany, and adopted by Linnaeus in 1753, honors Michel Bégon, a former governor of the French colony of Haiti.


Selected species;[2]


A potted angel wing begonia (Begonia aconitifolia × B. coccinea)

The different groups of begonias have different cultural requirements, but most species come from tropical regions, so they and their hybrids require warm temperatures. Most are forest understory plants and require bright shade; few will tolerate full sun, especially in warmer climates. In general, begonias require a well-drained growing medium that is neither constantly wet nor allowed to dry out completely. Many begonias will grow and flower year-round except for tuberous begonias, which usually have a dormant period. During this dormant period, the tubers can be stored in a cool, dry place. Begonias of the semperflorens group (or wax begonias) are frequently grown as bedding plants outdoors. A recent group of hybrids derived from this group is marketed as "Dragonwing" begonias; they are much larger both in leaf and in flower. Tuberous begonias are frequently used as container plants. Although most Begonia species are tropical or subtropical in origin, the Chinese species B. grandis is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 6 and is commonly known as the "hardy begonia". Most begonias can be grown outdoors year-round in subtropical or tropical climates, but in temperate climates, begonias are grown outdoors as annuals, or as house or greenhouse plants.

Most begonias are easily propagated by division or from stem cuttings. In addition, many can be propagated from leaf cuttings or even sections of leaves, particularly the members of the rhizomatous and rex groups.

The following begonia hybrids have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-
  • 'Irene Nuss'[3] (cane-stem)
  • 'Burle Marx'[4] (rhizomatous)      
  • 'Marmaduke'[5] (rhizomatous)
  • 'Mikado'[6] (rex)
  • 'Munchkin'[7] (rhizomatous)
  • 'Orange Rubra'[8] (cane-stem)
  • 'Ricky Minter'[9] (rhizomatous)
  • 'Tiger Paws'[10] (rhizomatous)

Horticultural nomenclature

The nomenclature of begonias can be very complex and confusing. The term 'picotee' refers to an edging on the petals that is in contrast to the colour of the main petal, if the colours blend. If they do not, then the term 'marginata' is used, but sometimes these terms are used simultaneously.[11] 'Non-Stop' refers to a camellia tuberous hybrid that under certain conditions will bloom 'non-stop' all year round.

Display of (tuberous) begonias, Hampton Court Flower Show

Because of their sometimes showy flowers of white, pink, scarlet, or yellow color and often attractively marked leaves, many species and innumerable hybrids and cultivars are cultivated. The genus is unusual in that species throughout the genus, even those coming from different continents, can frequently be hybridized with each other, and this has led to an enormous number of cultivars. The American Begonia Society classifies begonias into several major groups:

  • cane-like
  • shrub-like
  • tuberous
  • rhizomatous
  • semperflorens (wax or fibrous rooted begonias)
  • Rex
  • trailing-scandent
  • thick-stemmed

For the most part, these groups do not correspond to any formal taxonomic groupings or phylogeny, and many species and hybrids have characteristics of more than one group, or do not fit well in any of them.

Binomial terms such as Begonia grandiflora, Begonia multiflora, and Begonia pendula do not refer to accepted species, but rather varieties of tuberous begonias.[12]

Cultivars and cultivar groups

Popular culture

The cultivar 'Kimjongilia' is a floral emblem of North Korea.

The Grateful Dead wrote the popular song "Scarlet Begonias". In the 1993 American comedy film Mrs. Doubtfire, a goat eats a begonia patch belonging to Miranda Hillard (played by Sally Field) during her son's birthday party.

In NPR's game show, Ask Me Another, Ophira Eisenberg is the host. During the credits the puzzle creator exclaims anagrams of select credited persons' names. Ophira Eisenberg anagrams to "Her Ripe Begonias".

Most begonias are sour to the taste, and some people in some areas eat them. This is safe in small amounts but potentially toxic in large quantities due to the prevalence of oxalic acid in the tissues [14]


  1. ^ David G. Frodin (2004). "History and concepts of big plant genera".  
  2. ^ The Plant List
  3. ^ "' (Superba group) 'Irene NussBegonia"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "' 'Burle MarxBegonia"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "' 'MarmadukeBegonia"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "' 'MikadoBegonia"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "' 'MunchkinBegonia"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "' 'Orange RubraBegonia"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "' 'Ricky MinterBegonia"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "' 'Tiger PawsBegonia"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  11. ^ University of Vermont: Plant and Soil Science Department
  12. ^ Jardiner1
  13. ^ Missouri Botanical Garden
  14. ^ Laferrière, Joseph E. 1990. On the edibility of begonias. Begonian 57:175.


External links

  • American Begonia Society
  • W. S. Hoover et al. 2004, Notes on the geography of South-East Asian Begonia and species diversity in montane forests
  • Inferred from trnL Intron SequencesBegoniaPhylogenetic Relationships of the Afro-Malagasy Members of the Large Genus
  • Using Nuclear Ribosomal Sequence Data and Morphological CharactersBegoniaA Phylogeny of
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