Let’s see if we can get a small series on plants of Africa going. Thanks again to Eric in SF@Flickr for sharing yet more photographs with BPotD (original 1 | original 2 | BPotD Flickr Group Pool). If you didn’t visit Eric’s site a few days ago when linked via the Deppea splendens entry, consider doing it now: PlantWorld. Thanks, Eric!
Eric notes that this is one of the smallest-growing Begonia species – the plant in the first photograph is 12cm (5 in.) across, to give an idea of scale.
The genus Begonia is distributed throughout most tropical areas of the world. Like Euphorbia, it is a large genus, consisting of over 1000 different species (to see the diversity of form (particularly in leaf shapes), visit this Begonia photo gallery). Begonia prismatocarpa is native to western tropical Africa, namely Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and the Equatorial Guinean island of Bioko, where the species was first encountered by Western explorers. Online scans of herbarium specimens and associated data are available via the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
The epithet prismatocarpa refers to “prism-shaped fruit”. I haven’t been able to find an image of the fruit for this species, but perhaps the fruit of Burdachia prismatocarpa (illustrations m and n) will be sufficiently demonstrative of what is meant by the term.