Shield-Leaf Begonia
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Shield-Leaf Begonia
P Native Photo: C. Rajasekar
Common name: Shield-Leaf Begonia
Botanical name: Begonia subpeltata    Family: Begoniaceae (Begonia family)
Synonyms: Reichenheimia subpeltata

Shield-Leaf Begonia is a perennial, virtually stemless herb. Leaves are symmetrical, broadly ovate, heart-shaped at base, pointed to tapering at tip, 8-14.5 x 10-15 cm, sometimes slightly lobed or angular, rounded toothed, palmately 5-6 veined. Upper surface is rather shiny, white-hairy, lower surface pale, hairless. Leaf-stalks are erect, 7-33 cm long, stout, fleshy. Flowering stems are erect, cylindrical, fleshy, rather transparent, almost hairless, pale pink, 10-55 cm long, each subtended or covered when young by 2 bracts. Flowers clusters are lax, up to 25-flowered; bracts ovate, tapering, almost hairless, whitish, entire, about 10 x 5 mm; male flower-stalk up to 0.7-2.5 cm long, erect, hairless; tepals white, staminate tepals 2+2; the outer pair ovate, 10-20 x 8-13 mm, nearly heart-shaped at base, hairless; the inner ovate-lanceshaped, up to 13 x 7 mm, pointed; stamens 35-40, free; filaments about 1.5 mm long. Female flower-stalks are 5-15 mm long, reflexed, hairless, pale pink, bracteoles 1-2, lanceshaped, 5-10 x 2 mm, hairless, entire, pale pink; female tepals 2 + 3; outer pair larger, round, up to 8 x 10 mm, hairless; the inner ones up to 9 x 7 mm. Ovary is hairless, pale green with pinkish reticulation with a purple septal line on each face, 8-11 x 10 mm inclusive of wings; wings about 5 mm broad. Capsules are 1.0-1.5 x 1.5-2.4 cm inclusive of 5-9 mm broad wings, splitting along inner margin of wings. Seeds are oblong-oval, 3 mm long, brown. Shield-Leaf Begonia is found in South India and Sri Lanka. Flowering: September-December.

Identification credit: C. Rajasekar Photographed in Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.

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