Giant Begonia
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Giant Begonia
P Native Photo: Momang Taram
Common name: Giant Begonia • Adi: Sisibaying, Dumbolepang
Botanical name: Begonia giganticaulis    Family: Begoniaceae (Begonia family)

Giant Begonia is a perennial, evergreen herb, up to 4 m tall, dioecious. Stem is erect, reddish brown or green, hairless, with many longitudinally spindle-shaped whitish spots, nodes notably enlarged, up to 7 cm thick, many shrubby branches on the upper part of main stem. Stipules are long-triangular, light green or pinkish green, 9-25 x 2-8 mm, hairless, margin entire, dorsal ridge pinkish, tip tapering with a needle 4-6 mm long. Leaf-stalks are green, pink to red, 7-22 cm long. Leaf blade is ovate-lanceshaped to lanceshaped, 4-19 x 0.8-8 cm, upper green, muriculate to nearly hairless, upper veins slightly concave; lower greyish green, veins usually red, convex, main veins sparsely and obliquely bristly; base obliquely heart-shaped, margin shallowly and remotely finely toothed, tip long with a tail. Flowers are borne in a dichasial cyme, in leaf-axils, short, 3-5 cm long, unbranched to branched once, axis green, pinkish green to red, base usually red-brown, 7-15 mm long, 1-1.5 mm thick, 3-11 male flowers or 1-5 female per inflorescence. Bracts often falling off, pinkish green, long triangular, hairless, about 6 x 3 mm, tip tapering; bracteoles smaller. Male flower: flower-stalk hairless, white, whitish or pinkish green, 10-14 mm long, flower 1.8-2.4 cm in diameter; tepals 4, nearly equal, hairless, outer 2, obovate, 9-14 x 6-9 mm, tip blunt, above white and middle-upper part below pink, or pure white for some individuals, inner 2, pure white, obovate to obovate-lanceshaped, 8-13 x 5-7 mm, tip blunt; stamens 48-60, filaments free, 1-2 mm long; anther yellow, 2-3 mm long. Female flower: flower-stalk white or green-white, 6-12 mm long, flower 2.0-2.5 cm, tepals 6, rarely 4, hairless, outer 3 (rarely 2), obovate or long obovate, thick and rigid, 12-18 x 7-10 mm, upper surface nearly white, distinctly concave, below pink on middle-upper part, inner 3 (rarely 2), obovate-lanceshaped to inverted-lanceshaped or long elliptical, slightly narrower than outer tepals, 10-19 x 6-8 mm, white, hairless, tip blunt; styles + stigmas 5 mm long, 7-8 mm wide; styles 3, free; stigmas yellow, nearly U-shaped. Flower-cluster-stalk is green to pinkish green, hairless, 8-12 mm long. Fruit is red, pink or green, hairless, triangular-gyroscopic, 8-11 x 1-12 mm wide, concave between two placentas, wingless to occasionally short ridged, tip with beak 3-4 mm long. Giant Begonia is found in Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh. Flowering: June-October.

Identification credit: Momang Taram Photographed in Arunachal Pradesh.

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