A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

Plant of the Week: Begonia fuchsioides (Fuchsia-flowered Begonia)

Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.

This glossy-leaved begonia, with its deep-red stems and light-pink flowers, is called the fuchsia-flowered begonia because at a casual glance it could be mistaken for a fuchsia.close-up

Many hundreds of species of begonia exist and almost all come from tropical or sub-tropical regions of the world. This particular one, Begonia fuchsioides, is native to Columbia and Venezuela, where its blooms range in color from bright-red to a soft pink.

The genus Begonia is named in honor of Michel Bégon (1638-1710) who, as intendant (governor-general) of the Windward Isles of the Caribbean, developed a keen interest in the local flora.the-plant

While there, he met the botanist Charles Plumier who, because of his generous habit of celebrating his friends when applying names to new genera, was a good person to know. Plumier also honored botanists of earlier generations, including Leonhart Fuchs (1501-1566), now remembered principally by the name of the plant we know as the fuchsia.

Our fuchsia-flowered begonia can be seen in the Palm House section of the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory.setting

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