Late Bloomers

Most rhizomatous species when kept indoors (and kept on a natural photoperiod) tend to bloom over the winter.  The species below were mostly grown from leaves this past Fall, so are on a different rhythm than the rest of the plants.

Begonia ignita, with its strange orange male flowers.  It produces many flowers at once, with an incredible amount of males in comparison to females.  Due to its vigorous nature and readiness to give pollen, I saved many of the flowers for use later.  The ovaries are pink, and take their time drying out.  They are firmly attached, thankfully.

Begonia pavonina, whose male flowers were unfortunately very short lived and fell off before I could collect any. Without hope of getting species seed, I tried pollinating this ovary with pollen from multiple species, and am hoping one takes.  It would be shame if this beautiful ovary went to waste.  I love the slightly pink edges on the abaxial surface of the tepals, most visible right before the flower opens.

Another strange flower, from Begonia xanthina.  It is strange because usually a yellow flower form a species Begonia means it’s from Africa, but this one is from Yunnan China.

This beautiful ovary below belongs to Begonia chlorosticta.  It is from the section Petermannia which is distinctive in that species from this section tend to put out female flowers before males.  This serves to prevent cross-pollination in the wild, but is also a bit of a bain for keepers of these species, as it often makes pollination impossible unless pollen is stored from a previous year, or another plant is also in bloom and can offer pollen.  This photo was from about two weeks ago, and the cholrosticta has still not put out any males.  One of the ovaries has dropped, with its tepals and color intact (signifying no pollination).  Last week I pollinated the last remaining ovary with pollen from B.darthvaderiana, and surprisingly, within two days the tepals dropped.  This is an almost sure sign of successful pollination.  Not to say the seeds will be any good, but it’s the first step.  Having had no success with creating darthvaderiana seed, despite many opportunities with many ovaries from many different plants, I was expecting pollination attempts even using this species as a father to be equally challenging.  Next, the ovary will need to stay on long enough to dry properly, then it will need to be harvested at the proper time, then it will need to sit on a piece of paper for 2-7 days, and then it will need to be opened up and examined for fertility.  If the seeds look good, they will be sorted by placing the seeds on a piece of paper, tilting at an angle, and collecting those which roll easily.  Those that do, will be put through this process again, and those seeds will be the ones sowed.  C1168662-2FD6-467E-BC00-7D8B9BDF56EB_1_201_a

These flowers belong to a plant that came without identification, but that resembles B.bowerae nigramarga.