White-Cross Begonia
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White-Cross Begonia
P Native Photo: Momang Taram
Common name: White-Cross Begonia
Botanical name: Begonia burkillii    Family: Begoniaceae (Begonia family)

White-Cross Begonia is a perennial herb, 20-40 cm tal, with rhizome about 1 cm wide. It is named for Isaac Henry Burkill (1870-1965), an English botanist. Stipules are lanceshaped, 5-17 x 2-7 mm, hairless, persistent. Leaf-stalks are 5-15 cm long, hairless, blade ovate-lanceshaped to ovate, base heart-shaped with lobes almost overlapping, 10-20 x 6-9 cm, asymmetric, upper surface variegated green and brown with a dark centre, hairless or sparsely finely velvet-hairy, underside variegated red and green, margin entire to shallow toothed, tip shortly tapering. Flowers are borne in many-flowered cymes in leaf-axils, flower-cluster-stalk hairless, branching twice, male primary 5-15 cm, secondary 2-4 cm, 2-6 flowers, female primary 4-6 cm, 1-2 flowers; bracts lanceshaped, 6-20 x 1-5 mm, deciduous. Male flowers have flower-stalk 1.3-2.5 cm long, hairless; tepals 4; outer tepals narrowly ovate, 10-30 x 7-16 mm, white to pink, hairless, margin entire; inner tepals elliptic-obovate, 10-20 x 3-7 mm, white to pink, hairless; androecium with 40-70 stamens, filaments 1-3 mm long. Female flowers have stalk hairless; bracteoles absent; tepals 4, similar to those of the male flower; ovary 4-celled. Capsule is rhomboid, with 4 fleshy triangular wings or ridges; styles 4, forked once and twisted twice, deciduous. Fruit is carried on a stout stalk, rhomboid; capsule oblong-ellipsoid, 20 x 4-11 mm, with 4 stubby wings or horns. White-Cross Begonia is found in Arunachal-Pradesh and Assam; also in Myanmar, at altitudes of 300-1100 m. Flowering: February-March.

Identification credit: Momang Taram Photographed in Pasighat, East-Siang distt, Arunachal Pradesh.

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