Begonia bogneri

This species was a very generous gift from a friend, and arrived looking nearly as it did in the photos below.  It is a strange and beautiful one! Not surprisingly, it is native to Madagascar, which is home to some of the strangest flora and fauna in the world, having been isolated from the rest of the world for 88 million years.

Its leaves do not grow much larger than the ones below (4″ pot for reference) but it will readily form a larger mound with many individual rosettes.

From begonias.org, (article by Rudolf Ziesenhenne)
“The recent discovery of Begonia bogneri had occurred on January 23, 1969 in the Malagasy Republic (formerly Madagascar), while Mr. Bogner was visiting the very little explored mountainous Presqu’lle de Masoala in an area called Hiataka which has an average annual rainfall of about 3500 mm (140″) and a yearly average of 230 rainy days. He was looking for aroids but found at an elevation of about 50 meters (165′) in the deep shade of steep, mossy, granite cliffs the grasslike begone we are naming Begonia bogneri covering the naked rocks among mosses, ferns and sometimes Pothos scandens.The locality of this new species is very small, no larger than one hectare (2.471 acres); the mountains at Hiaraka arising from sea level immediately to about 1000 m. (3300′). Mr. Bogner climbed to the top but found no other place where the begonia was growing.”

I am growing it in a sphagnum and soil mix (dirty sphag essentially), with season osmocote slow-release fertilizer.  It can be propagated easily by cutting up each leaf into 2-4 pieces and laying on a moist potting mix.  Sometimes if you plant an entire leaf and stick into the growing medium, it will grow not from the base where you put it in soil, but from the top!

Here, the rotund ovary.  It is not nearly as angular as many species.  The ovary remained intact for 6-8 weeks on the plant until it began to ash.  I removed it and dried it in toilet paper, and the seed thankfully was not ruined (at least it didn’t look to be).  It yielded a modest amount of seeds, between 50-100.

And the female flower.  They range from a very pale pink as in the flower below, to a moderate pink.

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And the male flower,

More information and photos can be found on the ABS website. 

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