1. Begonia Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1056. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 475. 1754.
[For Michel Bégon, 1638–1710, French governor of Haiti and patron of botany] I [For Michel Bégon, 1638–1710, French governor of Haiti and patron of botany] I
Plants sometimes rhizomatous [sometimes tuberous]. Stems erect or ascending [climbing], reddish [green or brown], simple or branched. Cymes [1–]few[–many]-flowered. Capsules [2–]3[–5+]-locular. x = 9.
Species ca. 1400 (2 in the flora): introduced; Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, s Asia, Africa, Indian Ocean Islands; pantropical.
Begonia is one of the larger herbaceous pantropical genera. Begonias are widely cultivated as ornamental plants.
Begonia cucullata is usually more robust than B. hirtella. The number of flowers per cyme was impossible to establish from the available herbarium specimens, because staminate flowers fall early. In general, B. cucullata appears to have more flowers than B. hirtella. Flowers of Begonia often are described as having tepals, as done here; the staminate flowers sometimes may be described as having sepals and petals, as is the case for the sister genus Hillebrandia. Capsules were measured excluding the wings.