the begonia family


The Begonia genus and the Begoniaceae family is named for Micheal Bégon, who created the new town of Rochefort for Louis XIV in the 17th century.

There are over 1,000 species of Begonia, and only one species of Hillebrandia, the only other genus in the family. Begonias are found naturally throughout most tropical and warm temperate regions of the world, except Australia. Hillebrandia is endemic to Hawaii.

Most of the species are perennial herbs grown as ornamentals, some of them climbers, and some shrubs. They have succulent stems and rhizomes or tubers. The leaves are usually simple, and commonly asymmetrical. Most species are monoecious, the male flowers with two petal-like sepals, two petals, and many stamens, the female flowers with one pistil and an inferior ovary. The fruits are usually capsules, with many tiny seeds.