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Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Begonia is a genus of perennial flowering plants that contains 1,484 different plant species. It is the sixth largest flowering plant genus.

The genus name Begonia, coined by Charles Plumier, a French patron of botany, and adopted by Linnaeus in 1753, honors Michel B├ęgon, a former governor of the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti).

Begonias are found in moist subtropical and tropical climates. Some species are often grown indoors as houseplants.

A potted angel wing begonia (Begonia aconitifolia × B. coccinea)By Khalid Mahmood - Wikipedia Commons

The begonia produces one of the smallest types of seeds in the world, which resemble dust. One ounce of begonia seed is enough for the production of  three million seedlings, which start to germinate two or three weeks after planting.

Most begonias are sour to the taste, and some varieties – there are more than 1,000 – have been used for food. This is safe in small amounts but potentially toxic in large quantities due to the prevalence of oxalic acid in the tissues.

Indonesians use begonias to make a sauce over fish dishes while Brazilians scatter the flower in salads.

Begonias are rich in vitamin C and have been used to prevent scurvy when citrus fruits were not available.

Display of (tuberous) begonias, Hampton Court Flower Show

Begonias have been used in Chinese medicine to disinfect wounds and ease the symptoms of a cold.

In some areas of China, the sap was used to stop toothache or cure kidney ailments.

When North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il died in 2011, a special variety of the flower called Kimjongilia was bred to adorn his corpse for public display.

Source Daily Mail June 17, 2016

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