Begonia obliqua
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Begoniaceae
Genus: Begonia
Type species
Begonia obliqua
Range of the genus Begonia
    • Augustia Klotzsch
    • Barya Klotzsch
    • Begoniella Oliv.
    • Casparya Klotzsch
    • Cladomischus Klotzsch ex A.DC.
    • Cyathocnemis Klotzsch
    • Diploclinium Lindl.
    • Donaldia Klotzsch
    • Doratometra Klotzsch
    • Eupetalum Lindl.
    • Ewaldia Klotzsch
    • Falkea J.Koenig ex Steud.
    • Gaerdtia Klotzsch
    • Gireoudia Klotzsch
    • Gurltia Klotzsch
    • Haagea Klotzsch
    • Huszia Klotzsch
    • Isopteryx Klotzsch
    • Knesebeckia Klotzsch
    • Lauchea Klotzsch
    • Lepsia Klotzsch
    • Magnusia Klotzsch
    • Mezierea Gaudich.
    • Mitscherlichia Klotzsch
    • Moschkowitzia Klotzsch
    • Nephromischus Klotzsch
    • Petermannia Klotzsch
    • Pilderia Klotzsch
    • Platycentrum Klotzsch
    • Platyclinium T.Moore
    • Pritzelia Klotzsch
    • Putzeysia Klotzsch
    • Rachia Klotzsch
    • Reichenheimia Klotzsch
    • Riessia Klotzsch
    • Rossmannia Klotzsch
    • Sassea Klotzsch
    • Saueria Klotzsch
    • Scheidweileria Klotzsch
    • Semibegoniella C.DC.
    • Sphenanthera Hassk.
    • Steineria Klotzsch
    • Stibadotheca Klotzsch
    • Symbegonia Warb.
    • Tittelbachia Klotzsch
    • Trachelanthus Klotzsch
    • Trachelocarpus Müll.Berol.
    • Trendelenburgia Klotzsch
    • Trilomisa Raf.
    • Wageneria Klotzsch
    • Weilbachia Klotzsch & Oerst.

Begonia is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the family Begoniaceae. The genus contains more than 2,000 different plant species. The Begonias are native to moist subtropical and tropical climates. Some species are commonly grown indoors as ornamental houseplants in cooler climates. In cooler climates some species are cultivated outside in summertime for their bright colorful flowers, which have sepals but no petals.

Pink flowering Begonia


With 2,002 species, Begonia is one of the largest genera of flowering plants.[1][2] The species are terrestrial (sometimes epiphytic) herbs or undershrubs, and occur in subtropical and tropical moist climates, in South and Central America, Africa, and southern Asia. Terrestrial species in the wild are commonly upright-stemmed, rhizomatous, or tuberous. The plants are monoecious, with unisexual male and female flowers occurring separately on the same plant; the male contains numerous stamens, and the female has a large inferior ovary and two to four branched or twisted stigmas. In most species, the fruit is a winged capsule containing numerous minute seeds, although baccate fruits are also known. The leaves, which are often large and variously marked or variegated, are usually asymmetric (unequal-sided).


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


The following phylogenetic tree shows the relationships among sections of the genus Begonia.[3]


Yellow‑Flowering African Begonia (YFAB)

Section Scutobegonia

Section Filicibegonia

Section Loasibegonia

Section Erminea

Fleshy‑Fruited African Begonia (FFAB)

Section Quadrilobaria pro parte

Section Mezierea

NerviplacentariaQuadrilobaria Clade

Malagasy Begonia (MB)

Section Tetraphila pro parte

Section Tetraphila pro parte

Section Baccabegonia

Section Squamibegonia

Section Tetraphila pro parte

Seasonally Dry Adapted African Begonia 1 (SDAAB 1)

Section Sexalaria

Section Rostrobegonia

Neotropical Clade 1

Section Gaerdtia

Section Latistigma

Section Tetrachia

Section Kollmannia

Begonia acetosa Clade

Section Donaldia

Section Stellandrae

Wagneria Clade

Core Pritzelia Clade

Asian Begonia
Socotran Begonia (SB)

Section Peltaugustia

Section Reichenheimia pro parte

Section Haagea

Begonia dioica

Section Reichenheimia pro parte

Asian Clade C

Section Lauchea

Section Parvibegonia + Begonia smithiae

Section Diploclinium pro parte

Section Alicida

Section Diploclinium pro parte

Begonia boisiana

Section Diploclinium pro parte

Section Diploclinium pro parte

Section Diploclinium pro parte

Section Diploclinium pro parte

Section Platycentrum

Asian Clade D

Section Coelocentrum

Begonia peltatifolia

Begonia amphioxus Clade

Section Ridleyella

Section Baryandra

Section Begonia olivacea

Section Jackia

Section Bracteibegonia

PtermanniaSymbegonia Clade

Seasonally Dry Adapted African Begonia 2 (SDAAB 2)

Section Augustia

Neotropical Clade 2
Neotropical Clade 2‑iii

Begonia bifurcata

Section Eupetalum pro parte

Section Eupetalum pro parte

Section Eupetalum pro parte

Begonia cremnophila Clade

Section Knesebeckia I + Section Barya

Section Australes

Section Knesebeckia III pro parte

Begonia froebelii

Section Knesebeckia III pro parte

Begonia lutea

Section Knesebeckia II

Section Gobenia

Neotropical Clade 2‑i

Section Quadriperigonia

Section Parietoplacentalia

Section Urniformia

Section Gireoudia

Neotropical Clade 2‑ii

Section Astrothrix

Section Solananthera

Section Microtuberosa

Section Pereira

Section Trachelocarpus

Section Rossmannia

Section Pilderia

Section Ephemera

Section Ruizopavonia

CasparyaSemibegoniella Clade

Section Lepsia

Section Doratometra

Section Begonia

Begonia acutifolia Clade

Section Hydristyles

Section Cyathcnemis


Main article: List of Begonia species

Selected species:[4]


A potted angel wing begonia (Begonia aconitifolia × B. coccinea)

The different groups of begonias have different cultural requirements, but most species come from tropical regions, so they and their hybrids require warm temperatures. Most are forest understory plants and require bright shade; few will tolerate full sun, especially in warmer climates. In general, begonias require a well-drained growing medium that is neither constantly wet nor allowed to dry out completely. Many begonias will grow and flower year-round except for tuberous begonias, which usually have a dormant period. During this dormant period, the tubers can be stored in a cool, dry place. Begonias of the semperflorens group (or wax begonias) are frequently grown as bedding plants outdoors. Wax begonias are very attractive, they adapt well when brought inside the house for overwintering and can live up to 4-5 years.[5]

A recent group of hybrids derived from this group is marketed as "Dragonwing" begonias; they are much larger both in leaf and in flower. Tuberous begonias are frequently used as container plants. Although most Begonia species are tropical or subtropical in origin, the Chinese species B. grandis is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 6 and is commonly known as the "hardy begonia". Most begonias can be grown outdoors year-round in subtropical or tropical climates, but in temperate climates, begonias are grown outdoors as annuals, or as house or greenhouse plants.

Most begonias are easily propagated by division or from stem cuttings. In addition, some can be propagated from leaf cuttings or even sections of leaves, particularly the members of the rhizomatous and rex groups.

Horticultural nomenclature

Plum Paisley Begonias in a greenhouse.

The nomenclature of begonias can be very complex and confusing. The term 'picotee' refers to edging on the petals that is in contrast to the color of the main petal if the colors blend. If they do not, then the term 'marginata' is used, but sometimes these terms are used simultaneously.[6] 'Non-Stop' refers to a camellia tuberous hybrid that under certain conditions will bloom 'non-stop' all year round.

Cultivar groups

Display of (tuberous) begonias, Hampton Court Flower Show

Because of their sometimes showy flowers of white, pink, scarlet, or yellow color and often attractively marked leaves, many species and innumerable hybrids and cultivars are cultivated. The genus is unusual in that species throughout the genus, even those coming from different continents, can frequently be hybridized with each other, and this has led to an enormous number of cultivars. The American Begonia Society is the International Cultivar Registration Authority for Begonia, and classifies them into several major groups:

For the most part, these groups do not correspond to any formal taxonomic groupings or phylogeny, and many species and hybrids have characteristics of more than one group or do not fit well in any of them.

AGM plants

The following is a selection from about 70 species, varieties and cultivars which currently hold the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:[7]


The cultivar 'Kimjongilia' is a floral emblem of North Korea.

Most begonias are sour to the taste, and some people in some areas eat them. This is safe in small amounts but potentially toxic in large quantities due to the prevalence of oxalic acid in the tissues.[22]


  1. ^ Frodin (2004).
  2. ^ "Begonia - Welcome".
  3. ^ Moonlight et al. (2018).
  4. ^ The Plant List
  5. ^ "How to care for beautiful Wax Begonia indoors (Easily)". Shiny Plant. 28 November 2020. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  6. ^ Perry, Leonard. "Begonia". Perry's Perennial Pages. Archived from the original on 2013-05-02.
  7. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). RHS. March 2020. p. 10. Retrieved 2020-11-01.
  8. ^ "Begonia 'Benitochiba'". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  9. ^ "Begonia dregei". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  10. ^ "Begonia foliosa var. miniata". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  11. ^ "Begonia 'Glowing Embers'". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  12. ^ "Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  13. ^ "Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana var. alba". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  14. ^ "Begonia 'Green Gold'". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  15. ^ "Begonia listada". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  16. ^ "Begonia luxurians". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  17. ^ "Begonia masoniana". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  18. ^ "Begonia metallica". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  19. ^ "Begonia solananthera". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  20. ^ "Begonia soli-mutata". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  21. ^ "Begonia sutherlandii". RHS. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  22. ^ Laferrière (1990).

Journal articles