Woolly Begonia
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Woolly Begonia
P Native Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Woolly Begonia • Malayalam: Kalthamara
Botanical name: Begonia floccifera    Family: Begoniaceae (Begonia family)

Woolly Begonia is a herb with leaves up to 18 cm across, kidney-shaped or round, obliquely heart-shaped, distantly toothed, woolly-velvet-hairy below, nerves 11, prominent; leaf-stalk to 30 cm long. Flower-cluster-stalks are solitary or 2-3 together, velvet-hairy; cymes 10 cm across, branched; flower-stalks thread-like. Flowers are many; male sepals 4, outer sepals 7 x 7 mm, round; anthers flat at tip; female sepals 2, 6 x7 mm, round; styles 3, stigmas branched. Capsule 12 x 15 mm; seeds many, vertically ridged 0.5 x 0.25 mm, brown. Leaves are sour to taste and locals use it in place of tamarind in meat preparations particularly with fish. Woolly Begonia is endemic to Southern Western Ghats. Flowering: January-February.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu.

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