Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Begonia, a genus of herbaceous plants, natives of the East Indies and of tropical America, the type of a somewhat isolated order of Dicotyledons, related perhaps to the Saxifragaceae. The genus is named from Michel Begon, a Frenchman, and comprises some 350 species. The leaves are alternate, stipulate, and so markedly oblique as to have suggested the name elephant's ear for the genus. The flowers are unisexual, having a perianth of four leaves in the staminate ones and five leaves in the pistillate. The stamens are numerous; the carpels, three, forming a three-winged inferior ovary with a spiral stigma round its style. The plants are readily propagated by cuttings of their leaves which produce adventitious buds. Some species have tubers, and these have recently been improved by cultivation until their flowers, which are white, yellow, orange, pink, crimson or scarlet, have reached a diameter of two or three inches.