More than 2,050 species of Begonia have been identified worldwide, making it one of the biggest genera in the plant kingdom. The majority of begonias are little weeds, barely a few millimeters in length.
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Discovery of the Tallest Begonia Species
One of the world’s biggest Begonia specimens, reaching over three meters in height and 2.5 meters in breadth, was documented in a recent research published in the journal PhytoKeys.
There are more than 2050 species of Begonia recognized by science, according to Eurekalert. A Begonia taller than a person is a rare occurrence, considering most Begonias are little weeds. A few exceptions to this rule include the new Begonia gigantica.
Dr. Daike Tian and his colleagues started the study of wild Begonias in Tibet, China in 2019. Dr. Tian was overjoyed on September 10, 2020, when he spotted a massive Begonia in full bloom while conducting surveys in the county of Mêdog. He was certain it was a new species after examining its blossoms.
Dr. Tian took two of the tallest individuals from a small group of a few dozen individuals to measure and prepare specimens for future examination. One of them reached a height of 3.6 meters and had a ground stem with a diameter of close to 12 cm.
He had to ask the driver to go on top of the car so he could get an accurate reading. Dr. Tian had to cut each plant into four portions in order to transport them back to Shanghai and make dry specimens.
Endangered Begonia gigantica
New species Begonia gigantica grows on slopes under forests and along streams at an altitude of between 450 to 1400 meters. This is the tallest Begonia that has ever been found in Asia.
One of the reasons it was classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria was because of its sparse distribution in southern Tibet.
The dried specimen, which was put on a big board and then dried in a herbarium, was 3.1 meters tall by 2.5 meters broad when it was finished. This is the biggest Begonia specimen in the world to scientific knowledge.
Visitors to Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden’s inaugural Chinese Begonia display in October 2020 were stunned by its enormous size. Guinness World Records are now being sought for this species by the Chenshan Herbarium’s team.
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Common Begonia Species
Wax begonia: The most popular are wax, annual, or bedding begonias (Begonia semperflorens). These shade-loving plants look great in planters, hanging baskets, and window boxes. Wax begonias are annuals that grow 6 to 12 inches tall and broad.
Begonias tuberculata: Tuberous begonias are another popular kind with vibrant blooms that look great in hanging baskets or pots. They grow taller than wax begonias, reaching 12 to 18 inches inside and 3 feet or more outside.
Begonia rhizomata: Rhizomatous begonias are characterized by thick stems that grow horizontally towards the soil surface, sprouting new roots and leaves. They feature fascinating leaves and stems and are popular houseplants. Sizes range from a few inches to 3 feet tall.
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