Malabar Begonia   
Foto info
Malabar Begonia
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Malabar Begonia • Malayalam: കയ്യാലപ്പുളി kayyalappuli, ജനാംകൊല്ലി janankolli, രക്തസൂരി raktasuri, ചെറിയ ഞെരിഞ്ഞന്പുളി tsjeria-narinampuli
Botanical name: Begonia malabarica    Family: Begoniaceae (Begonia family)
Synonyms: Begonia hydrophila, Begonia fallax, Begonia rubrosetulosa

Malabar Begonia is a herb with stem often 2 ft long, repeatedly dividing, with many leaves. Leaves are 2-4 inches, heart-shaped, pointed, very unequal at the base, with toothed margin. Leaf-stalks are 1-5 inches long. Stipules are 5 mm, persistent, ovate pointed, hairless. Peduncles arise in leaf axils, rarely exceeding 2-3 inches. Flowers are rose colored, not very many on a peduncle. Males flowers have 2 sepals, about 1.5 cm, round, hairless, no petals, stamens 40. Female flowers have perianth nearly as in male flowers, styles 3, each dividing into two curved and twisted branches. Capsule is 1.8 x 1.8 cm, including the wings.
Medicinal uses: Malabar Begonia is an important medicinal plant whose main secondary metabolites are luteolin, quercetin and β-sitosterol. The leaves are used for the treatment of respiratory infections, diarrhoea, blood cancer and skin diseases. Very few reports on cultivation, breeding and improvement programmes and in vitro studies of B. malabarica are available despite its commercial importance.

Identification credit: Shrikant Ingalhalikar
Photographed near Mavingundi, Karnataka.
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