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This species is accepted, and its native range is Ethiopia to SW. Tanzania.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


Begoniaceae, Vanessa Plana, Martin J.S. Sands & Henk J. Beentje. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2006

Type: Uganda, Ruwenzori, 2100 m, March 1906, Wollaston s.n. (BM!, holo.).
Morphology General Habit
Fleshy herb up to 1.2(–2.4) m high, terrestrial or occasionally on rock; stem erect, juicy, green, to 2 cm across, glabrous, with short branches and often with axillary bulbils; rootstock usually tuberous, red, to 7.5 cm in diameter.
Morphology Leaves Stipules
Stipules ovate to elliptic, 4–23 mm long, with entire margins.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves light green, ovate in outline, very asymmetric, 5–20 × 3–16 cm, base cordate, margins dentate-serrate, apex slightly acuminate, sparsely hairy with white or red hairs on both surfaces; venation palmate; petiole 2–20 cm long, with ring of hairs/fimbriate trichomes at junction with lamina.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Female flowers: tepals (4–)5, pink or white, the outer four elliptic to oblong, 10–17(–27) × 7–15 mm, the innermost smaller; ovary ovoid, 6–12 × 2–8 mm, 3-locular, 3-winged; placentation axile; styles three, to 6 mm long, divided halfway, the branches twisted; stigmatic band continuous, spiral. Flowers in axillary unisexual or bisexual cymes with 1–2 dichasia; peduncle 10–55 mm long; bracts caducous, ovate, 7–12 × 3–6 mm; pedicels 10–30 mm long; bracteoles absent. Male flowers: tepals 4, free, pink or white, the outer broadly ovate, suborbicular or ovate, 17–33 × 17–30 mm, the inner elliptic to obovate, 10–22 × (5–)10–14 mm; stamens many (> 40), filaments 1–5 mm long, anthers ellipsoid, 0.8–1.4 mm.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit an ovoid or ellipsoid capsule, 15–28 × 9–20 mm excluding the wings; wings very unequal, the largest triangular and 15–40 mm wide, the other two much smaller; dehiscence usually along the junction with the wings.
In moist forest along streams and in spray zone of waterfalls, always in very wet sites where it may be locally common; (1350–)1750–2900 m.
Least concern (LC); widespread in a common habitat .
Hitherto B. wollastonii and B. keniensis have been kept apart on flower colour (but within single populations both colours can occur: A.S. Thomas 2578, Mt Elgon), tepal shape in male flowers longer than broad, or broader than long (but variation is continuous, with suborbicular intermediates!) and the size of the largest fruit wing - long in the ‘type’ of keniensis (but again, intermediates occur). Based on these observations, we have decided the two are synonymous; B. wollastoni is the older name. Battiscombe 136 at Kew (from ‘British East Africa’, no further locality) bears a hand-written det-slip: “Begonia keniensis Gilg !1912, det. E.Gilg” and could be the original sheet from which Gilg coined the name – later taken up by Engler. Battiscombe 551, collected in 1912, bears label data stating it is from Mt Kenya, and that the rootstock is tuberous (but still without altitude). Engler cites the name as “ B. keniensis Gilg” but as he (Engler) wrote the text the authorship is Gilg ex Engler; ‘ex’ authors are not cited in this Flora. The two specimens from T 7 are curiously remote from the main population.
Flora districts: U1 U2 U3 K3 K4 T7 Range: Congo-Kinshasa, Ethiopia

Native to:

Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaïre

Begonia wollastonii Baker f. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Wood, G.H.S. [423], Uganda 11572.000
Jan 1, 1912 Battiscombe, E [136] Begonia keniensis K000242767
Battiscombe, E [551] Begonia keniensis K000242768

First published in J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 38: 252 (1908)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1996). World Checklist of Seed Plants 2(1, 2): 1-492. MIM, Deurne.


Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • E.J. 81: 152 (1961)
  • F.C.B., Begoniaceae: 47, t. 5 (1969)
  • Fl. Eth. 2, 2: 60 (1995).

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
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Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.