Begonia

Linnaeus

Sp. Pl. 2: 1056. 1753

,

Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 475. 1754.

Introduced
Etymology: For Michel Bégon, 1638 – 1710 French governor of Haiti and patron of botany
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 6. Treatment on page 62. Mentioned on page 61.
Plants sometimes rhizomatous [sometimes tuberous]. Stems erect or ascending [climbing], reddish [green or brown], simple or branched. Cymes [1–]few[–many]-flowered. Capsules [2–]3[–5+]-locular. x = 9.

Distribution

Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, s Asia, Africa, Indian Ocean Islands, pantropical.

Discussion

Species ca. 1400 (2 in the flora).

Begonia is one of the larger herbaceous pantropical genera. Begonias are widely cultivated as ornamental plants.

Begonia cucullata is usually more robust than B. hirtella. The number of flowers per cyme was impossible to establish from the available herbarium specimens, because staminate flowers fall early. In general, B. cucullata appears to have more flowers than B. hirtella. Flowers of Begonia often are described as having tepals, as done here; the staminate flowers sometimes may be described as having sepals and petals, as is the case for the sister genus Hillebrandia. Capsules were measured excluding the wings.

References

None.

Key

1 Perennials, usually glabrous, sometimes sparsely hairy; leaf blades asymmetric, ovate to ± reniform, base cuneate on shorter side, usually rounded on longer one1. Begonia cucullata > 1
1 Annuals, ± densely brownish-villous; leaf blades strongly asymmetric, ± ovate to ± cordate, base rounded to shallowly cordate on shorter side, rounded to cordate on longer one. Begonia hirtella