Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An unusual Begonia kingiana

This small and delectable species is named after Sir George King, head of the Royal Botanical Garden in Calcutta during late 1800s. There are lavish photos of 2 forms of this plant in Ruth Kiew's brilliant book "Begonias of Peninsular Malaysia" - one showing nicely variegated round leaves and the another very dark indigo leaves of similar shape but bearing crimson flowers instead of white/pink. There are other forms available and most of them have peltate, thick, dish-like leaves that feel like plastic to touch.

During a recce trip I found this rather unique form that had long drooping leaves with angular margin and a tapering drip point. Each dark coloured leaf has 5-6 light bands radiating from the centre - its quite distinct from the forms shown in Ruth's book. I observed that this plant is very exact in its requirement, preferring dark, humid limestone cliffs and forming patches of dense vertical cover on a particular hill, yet apparently absent at neighbouring hills.

This species is endemic to west Malaysia and is closely related to the extinct B. eiromischa.

13 comments:

Titania said...

How shiny and healthy the Begonia looks. The Begonias have become so much part in the gardens and also indoors. So I must say I do not grow indoor plants. My indoor plants grow outside! Now, I go and have a look at your other Begonias you have posted.
It is always of great interest to see the plants growing in the wild.

Islaverde said...

oh if you don't say its a begonia, I was thinking what a nice weed! LOL

Hort Log said...

Hi Trudi,

glad you are growing Begonias too ! They have mesmerising forms and colours even out of bloom.

Hort Log said...

alamak Kevin ....actually far from being weedy, many rainforest Begonias are highly specialised and very exact in their growing requirements.

Claude said...

What fantastic coloration on these leaves... it's a shame that so many of these plants have such specific habitat and growing requirements... it doesn't bode well for them as our planet becomes more and more developed by humans.

The Style Mansion said...

I love Begonias'. Beautiful photos.

Hort Log said...

fortunately this species is not so rare ...yet.

and yes TSM, I think Begonias have most mesmerising foliage ....I am especially drawn to those dark leaves types.

Bob Love said...

I have been collecting begonias for years and coming across the pic of begonia kingiana took my breath away. Your site is fantastic!

Hort Log said...

Hi Bob,
Welcome. I think this is one of the most ornamental small Begonia species in Pen. Malaysia.

Penny McCrea said...

I wonder if this would grow in South Florida? The limestone rock lies about 1" below the soil in most of my garden. And I do love begonias!

Hort Log said...

Hi Penny,

If you have a tropical-gardensque setup near Miami area it should be ok - but take note most SE Asian Begonias are very picky.

yctan118 said...

Is B kingiana only found in limestone hill?

Regards,
YC

Hort Log said...

yctan18,
this plant is found on vertical limestone slope only.

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