The National Begonia Society




Tim Jemmott

Begonia Species



I recently received four Begonia cuttings from Jacky Duruisseau plant hunter and the Vice President of AFABEGO. All the plants belonging to section Gireoudia and are current housed in a large terrarium.

B. bowerae var. nigramarga
is a small plant with a creeping rhizome. The characteristic hairs on the leaf edge gives B. bowerae its common name the eyelash begonia and this variety [nigramarga] has a darker variegated leaf pattern than B. bowerae var bowerae.

B. strigillosa is another small plant belonging to the section Gireoudia. It is also rhizomatous and is found from southern Mexico to Panama at altitudes between 1350m and 2800m [thats almost 1-2 miles high] so it should do well at lower temperatures. Its maculate [spotty] leaf pattern is said to be highly variable across its range. It likes high humidity, but, dry roots.


B. squarrosa
is an attractive rhizomatous species endemic to Mexico. I have not yet been able to find any further information on this plant. Jacky says it likes high humidity, but, dry roots and does best in a terrarium. As with many of the plants within section Gireoudia it has hairy petioles

B. lindleyana has an upright rhizome and very attractive leaf covered in small hairs. There is some debate within the literature as to whether B. lindleyana is a distinct species or a variant of B. sericoneura.


Many Begoias have hairy leafs or petioles. Within the section Gireoudia there is a wide diversity of petiolar induments. These distinctive hairs/scale can be used to help with plant identification. For example, the leaf of B. lyman-smithii is bordered with a margin of rust coloured brown hairs.


Microscopic examination of these hair like structures reveals further details impossible to appreciate with the naked eye. Here are a few examples:

                         B.squarrosa, (1)          B. heracleifolia, (2)          B. quartana (3)          and B. croatii. (4)
    (1)                       (2)        
 (3)                         (4)   

Jeff Rhodes came to visit my collection on Monday 20/09/16. He brought me a very nice plant B. acetosa. It was good to meet Jeff and his friend and we had an interesting discussion on growing begonias.


I attended the annual congress of AFABEGO this weekend 24/09/16. Despite my trepidation, to my shame I donít speak any French, I received a very warm welcome. The meeting was held just outside of the city of Rennes in the school of horticulture at St Gregoire.  We visited a tropical style garden and begonia collection close to where the meeting was held, followed by the AMG, competitions, annual plant exchange [members donate plants to a central pool then are able to look through and select plants they would like] and the annual dinner. I enjoyed the day and made some good contact with begonia collectors from all over Europe.


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