Researchers discover giant begonia in Tibet

This plant cannot be potted: Chinese researchers described in December 2021 in the journal PhytoKeys, a species of begonia whose specimens are much larger than humans.

a giant begonia in full bloom

Begonias are grouped together under the genus begonia Which has more than 2000 known species. But until now, an extraordinary specimen was still missing from this already well-supplied list… Back in 2019: Dr. Diek Tian of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his team a field study in Tibet on these plants on flowers are starting. A year later, he sees what he already thinks of a giant begonia in the Medog’s Xian (a Chinese administrative district). Looking at its flowers, he immediately thinks of a new (and unreliable) species.

more than three meters high

,From a small population of a few dozen individuals, Dr. Tian collected two larger ones to measure them and prepare the necessary samples for further study, Outlines a press release published on December 30, 2021. One of them was 3.6 m high, with the thickest part of its earthen trunk about 12 cm in diameter.“, or the size of a fist as in the photo below. At the moment, it is the largest species of begonia in all of Asia. Hence it was logically named Begonia gigantica.

main base of cone begonia giganticacredit: Dike Tian

The plant grows on forested slopes and along rivers in southern Tibet at an altitude of 450 m to 1400 m. But its distribution appears to be very fragmented, allowing it to be classified in the “endangered” category of the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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