Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

January 18, 2017: Botany Photo of the Day is being actively worked on. Returning soon!

Begonia hatacoa

Begonia hatacoa
Begonia hatacoa

A thank you to John B. (aka DCTropics@Flickr) for sharing these images of the staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers of Begonia hatacoa (original image 1 | original image 2 | via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool). Much appreciated, John. Do check out John's other begonia photographs.

Begonia hatacoa is native to Bhutan, Nepal and northern India, where it can be found in mid-elevation (1200m-1500m) broadleaf evergreen forests. As noted in the linked Flora of China profile, plants grow "on rocks in shaded moist environments on slopes or by streams".


Is this temperate zone?

Lovely photos. I am taken by the fact that the form of the male flower as depicted looks so much like an orchid, even to the striping. Thanks for sharing your photographic talents.

The photograph is really excellent!!

Michael, if you click through to John's Flickr pages, you'll find some photos where it appears to be growing outdoors. Hopefully John will contribute some comments about its hardiness.

The two photos show the same inflorescence; the male flowers open first and after they drop off, the female flowers open. This particular collection of B. hatacoa is from Arunachal Pradesh, India and was distributed by the American Begonia Society seed fund as RM-AR-180. Here is a different clone of the species growing outdoors:

This is not supposed to be a hardy species but I had two different clones survive a VERY mild winter in Washington, DC last year, along with several other begonia species and hybrids. This winter is a bit colder so it will be interesting to see which (if any) begonias survive! My previous UBC botany photo of the day showed the closely related Vietnamese species, B. sizemoreae:

As Peony Fan points out its uncanny resemblance to an orchid: could that be to attract same pollinators?

One final follow-up, here are the same two female flowers several weeks after being pollinated; note how the ovary curls under with the longest "wing" now hanging down:

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