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Begonia hemsleyana: SPECIES TALK – MARCH MEETING


Begonia hemsleyana, Bot. Mag. 125: t. 7685 (1899).
Source: Curtis Botanical Magazine; Author: Hooker

Carmel Browne presented the Species Talk on 16 March 2013.

The area of distribution of this species extends from northern Burma to the Chinese province of Yunnan in moist, upland forests.

B. hemsleyana was introduced to Kew Gardens by way of seed collected in south Yunnan in 1899. It was named in honour of William Hemsley who worked on Chinese plants at Kew at that time.

B. hemsleyana is rhizomatous, jointed at or below the soil with erect stems. The leaf blade is palmately compound, glossy green, sparsely hairy between the veins, paler green beneath with a reddish tinge. The petioles are pink with short, woolly hairs. Flowers are pink and fragrant.

I chose to speak on this species today because this is only the second time it has flowered for me. It has been described as difficult. From my experiences, I have found it requires a cool, moist, well lit situation with good air movement. Because it naturally produces short, closely spaced stems, good air circulation is essential to keep fungal diseases at bay. A well-drained premium mix that is allowed to dry between waterings suits B. hemsleyana.

B. hemsleyana, B. rex, B. pedatifida and B. circumlobata are closely related and all belong to section Platycentrum. B. hemsleyana has been successfully crossed with Rex Cultorum begonias. B. ‘Raspberry Swirl’, B. ‘Picasso’ and B. ‘Hula Skirt’ are the results of such crossings. I do not know if these have ever been grown in Australia.

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Begonia parilis: SPECIES TALK – APRIL MEETING


Begonia parilis

Photographed at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (Australia) in December.
Sourced from commons.wikimedia.org, this photo is originally from Gardenology.org.

Di Schulz presented the Species Talk on 20 April 2013.

The following was taken from a Begonian of 1968.

The stems and branches of B. parilis are soft and hairy. Its leaves are velvet-like in texture, olive-green, red at the margins and red flushed beneath. Flowers are pink or white.

From Know Your Begonias by J Krempin.

B. parilis was discovered in Brazil in 1953. It is known as the zig-zag begonia. It is thick-stemmed, grows to 1 metre with zig-zagged branches and medium, narrow, shining green leaves, red beneath. Arching clusters of white flowers with yellow stamens appear in summer.

Begonias: The Complete Reference Guide by Thompson & Thompson has this to say.

B. parilis is a versatile begonia that is attractive whether it is staked or not. Although this plant branches naturally, early pinching will produce an even fuller plant. It can be grown effectively in maximum sunlight according to the locale, or it can be grown in a semi-shady position, making an interesting foliage plant. However, it will only bloom when there is sufficient sunlight.

Begonia Conservation, Species Identification and Begoniaceae Keys


Click here to contact SoundEagleSoundEagle says: This is an excerpt reproduced from the journal of the American Begonia Society, The Begonian, as recommended by Mr Peter Henderson to SoundEagle.

Conservation Chairman, ABS

It’s time for a change.

There have been three recent events, that combined, will force a readjustment in one element of the ongoing “Conservation Program”. Let me explain.

First, I have recently reviewed the “traffic” on the Astro web site and find the consolidated listings of begonia pictures are the most popular pages for web site visitors. For those who have followed the evolution of this web site, they realize that since inception, about three years ago, the Astro web site has grown in size from about 10 pages and 50 pictures, to its present size of over 175 pages and over 1800 pictures. This information covers two national conventions, two South West Region (SWR) conventions, several ABS Board meetings, numerous branch meetings, several private begonia collections, a review of the Uxxx species, and pictures from Scott Hoover’s explorations in Indonesia. Throughout this time, the web site has featured each event, as it happened, along with numerous pictures of plants and people. Finally, the best pictures of individual plants were consolidated into three files, featuring cultivars, species, and the Uxxx species. These are the popular ones, and I surmise that people are viewing these collections of photographs to help identify their plants.

Second, for the past six months I have been developing species description information, in preparation for the “Begonia Description and Use of the Begoniaceae Keys” workshop at the August ’03 SWR meeting. This work includes a large number of botanical “characteristic terms” which describe begonia plants, created a glossary of over 500 descriptive terms that are needed to use the keys. All of this information is in the Workbook to be published in conjunction with the workshop. Now, having this information in one place, encourages me to put it to use describing as many species as possible.

Third, I have recently been unpleasantly surprised with the number of species plants that I have seen, or have bought into my collection, that are misnamed. Many times the names are only misspelled, but sometimes they are not even close, obviously describing an entirely different variety. It seems that many members have no reliable means of checking the identification of plants, so misidentifications are just passed along to the next member receiving a plant or cutting.

All of the above leads me to the conclusion that we need an easier way to identify species plants and we need to disseminate this information as broadly as possible. To that end, I am going to revise some of the Astro web site to emphasize species identification. The major tool will still be color photographs of plants, but added attention will be given to individual leaves and to inflorescence and flowers. Further, a section will be devoted to describing the plant parts in botanical terms, following the examples presented in the “Begonia Description … ” workbook. Because of space limitations, some older web pages will be eliminated to make room for the new work.

This approach has its problems, in that we must be certain of an identification before putting it on the web site as the “real McCoy”. This last consideration will undoubtedly make the task more difficult, more time consuming, and may require the help of numerous members. We will start with varieties whose identify is obvious, like B. rajah, and work our way toward the more difficult species like B. sericoneura, with its numerous synonyms. The concept of synonyms itself adds another important variable to the equation, which must be addressed.

Finally, this project will require considerable time to make real progress. The time frame is obviously dictated by the calendar because of plant blooming. The species to be covered in this activity will come from past and future shows, from private collections, and from the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. I invite you to visit the Astro web site over the next year or so to view the transformation, as it takes place.

The web address is http://absastro.tripod.com.

 

Begonia, yang Indah dan Berkhasiat


Click here to contact SoundEagleSoundEagle translates from Indonesian into English:

Begonia that can be found in West Sumatra (photo: naturasumatrana)

Begonia, which is beautiful and Efficacious

Single Nawa | Kompas.com, 29 April 2013

A total of 313 species of begonia collection in the Eka Karya Bedugul Botanical Garden, Bali, has now become the most comprehensive in the world and easily enjoyed in a begonia garden measuring 700 square meters. The begonia is the only plant with asymmetrical leaves, as well as an ornamental plant that has not been much observed. Begonia (Begoniaceae) as an ornamental plant in Indonesia is not yet popular. However, this plant is in great demand in several countries to the extent that many associations are formed by begonia fans,” said Hartutiningsih, a begonia researcher at the Center for Plant Conservation at the Bogor Botanical Garden, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), beginning in April 2013, at the Eka Karya Bedugul Botanical Garden, Bali.
Specific characteristics of the leaf blade that is asymmetrical (begoniifolia) is one of the exotic traits of begonias, in addition to the forms and colours. Begonias in nature grow wild in watery habitats near rivers. Various types of begonias are also easily found around waterfalls. Begonia diversity in the world is estimated to be 1,600 species, distributed in the tropics and subtropics. According to Hartutiningsih, there are more than 200 types of begonias in Indonesia. There are 15 types of natural begonia known in Java; Sumatra (35), Borneo (40), Sulawesi (20) and Papua (70). Begonias in nature grow in different altitudes ranging from humid tropical forests on the plains to mountains 2,400 meters above sea level.

Collection

The begonia collection in Eka Karya began in 2001. Taking an eight-year effort to create, this collection of the Botanical Garden cultivated at an elevation of 1,250 meters above sea level is the most complete in the world. “We did not declare the collection of begonias to be the most comprehensive in the world,” said Hartutiningsih. Based on the writings of Hoover (2008) at the World Center of Begonia, the Botanical Garden of Bali has the most comprehensive begonia collection in the world. In Eka Karya, the begonia collection started from only five species. For the sake of increasing the number of collections, among others, explorations of a number of island flora and seed exchanges with other botanical gardens have been conducted between this botanical garden and Jardin Botanic Garden (BG), France; Glassgow BG, Scotland; Queen Sirikit BG, Thailand; BG Tubingen, Germany; American Begonia Society Tonkawa, United States, and New England Tropical Conservatory, England.
From 313 begonias collected, there is a division into 100 types of natural begonias and 213 types of exotic begonias as a result of crossing. Additional collection occurred in the 2006-2009 period of exploration on the islands of Sulawesi and Papua. In Papua, the exploration was done in the West Batanta Island Nature Reserve, Raja Ampat, West Papua. Resulting from scientific descriptions, there are now 20 hitherto unknown new species being published in international journals. There are still many other types that have not been scientifically described. Crossbreeding research was also conducted to produce a new type of begonia with attractive physical appearance and better than its parent, unique, and has stronger endurance. Cross-breeding is done by cross-pollination. Begonias are generally self-pollinated.
In 2005, Hartutiningsih crossed Begonia acetosa and Begonia listada. The new cultivar is named Begonia Tuti-Siregar. “Tuti” is the new name coined by Hartutiningsih, while “Siregar” is the name of her husband, Mustaid Siregar, the head of the Bogor Botanical Garden. This new cultivar has been registered in the American Begonia Society. Crosses continued to be created in 2007, from female flowers of Begonia puspitae and male flowers of Begonia pasamanensis, producing Begonia Lovely-Jo. Its leaves are uniquely egg-shaped like dilated hearts (of love), asymmetrical, light green and hairless. This new kind of begonia has received Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Rights from the Centre for Plant Variety Protection and Licensing of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture. In 2013, there is going to be a scheduled BUSS test of novelty, uniqueness, uniformity and stability.

Medicinal plants

The distinctiveness of begonias creates potential in these plants. Some of them even have the potential to be medicinal plants. According to Hartutiningsih, who is currently still working on some kind of begonia research, begonias as medicinal plants can supposedly cure several diseases, including fever and the venereal disease syphilis. There are begonias that contain laxatives or substances to treat upset stomach. Begonia glabra is alleged to have medicinal properties for healing new wounds. Its leaves, stems and flowers contain saponins. Its leaves contain tannins, while its stems and flowers contain flavonoids and polyphenols.
Begonia fimbristipula efficaciously reduces temperature/fever, and is a cough medicine and pain medicine in coming months. This type of medicine has been processed into a fresh drink, a somewhat bitter tea from China. Begonia multangula and Begonia robusta with the local name hariang is used by Sundanese people in West Java as a substitute for vegetable acid. Begonia baliensis Girmansyah is a source of traditional medicine used to relieve cough and throat. It contains active compounds that can inhibit the growth of bacteria Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Not only exotic. Begonias also contain a lot of other benefits. Science can reveal them.

Source: Kompas

 

Natura Tropicae

Begonia
Begonia yang dapat ditemukan di Sumatera Barat (photo: naturasumatrana)

Begonia, yang Indah dan Berkhasiat

Nawa Tunggal | Kompas.com, 29 April 2013

Sebanyak 313 jenis begonia koleksi Kebun Raya Eka Karya Bedugul, Bali, kini jadi yang terlengkap di dunia dan mudah dinikmati di sebuah Taman Begonia seluas 700 meter persegi. Begonia satu-satunya tumbuhan dengan daun tak simetris, sekaligus tanaman hias yang belum banyak dilirik. Begonia (Begoniaceae) sebagai tanaman hias memang belum populer di Indonesia. Namun, tanaman ini diminati di beberapa negara sampai-sampai banyak terbentuk asosiasi penggemar begonia,” kata Hartutiningsih, peneliti begonia pada Pusat Konservasi Tumbuhan Kebun Raya Bogor Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (LIPI), awal April 2013, di Kebun Raya Eka Karya Bedugul, Bali.

Ciri-ciri spesifik helai daun yang tak simetris (begoniifolia) menjadi salah satu eksotisme begonia, selain corak dan warna-warninya. Begonia alam tumbuh liar di habitat berair seperti sekitar sungai. Beraneka jenis begonia juga mudah dijumpai di sekitar air terjun. Keragaman…

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‘Aka’aka’awa refugium


Studia Mirabilium

akaakaawaI was super excited to finally come across this cool native plant. This is the sole native begonia to Hawai’i: ‘Aka’aka’awa (Hillebrandia sandwicensis). I personally like to say it in the same cadence as the name of a certain young mongoose in a certain Rudyard Kipling story. This plant is currently only found on Kaua’i, Maui and Molokai. Hillebrand (for whom the plant is named) recorded it once back in the 1880’s on Mt. Ka’ala on O’ahu.

The genetics (Clement, 2004) seem to show that this plant may have quite the story to tell. For ‘Aka’aka’awa maybe the last of its line, one whose unique evolutionary history may stretch back to just after the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. Some advertisers have it wrong. Move over cycads… ‘Aka’aka’awa is the true prehistoric plant of Hawai’i.

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Edible Begonias


Learn about wild food with Green Deane. This video presents the begonia as an edible plant that has been grown around the world both as food and as an ornamental.


For more information including the culinary and medicinal uses of begonias as well as the recipes of “Begonia Tartlett” and “Begonia Spread“, visit Begonia Bonanza | Eat The Weeds and other things, too.

Culinary uses are found in Japan, India, Indonesia (a sauce for meat and fish), Myanmar, China (tea, salads and wild snack), Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay and the Philippines. For example, the leaves of Begonia fimbristipula, a deciduous herb with tubers 7-8 mm in diameter, are harvested and dried for brewing a beverage (tea) in Guangdong, China.

The Journal of Economic Botany has mentioned the following edible begonias:

  1. B. annulata (aka B. hatacoa)
  2. B. auriculata
  3. B. barbata
  4. B. fimbristipula (used to make a tea)
  5. B. gracilis
  6. B. grandis var evansiana
  7. B. hernandioides
  8. B. malabarica
  9. B. mannii
  10. B. palmata
  11. B. picta
  12. B. plebeja (stems peeled, sap is used to make a drink)
  13. B. rex
  14. B. roxburghii (cooked)
  15. B. semperflorens