Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 March 2021 | 13(3): 18050–18053


ISSN 0974-7907 (Online) | ISSN 0974-7893 (Print)

#6709 | Received 13 September 2020 | Final received 16 November 2020 | Finally accepted 17 March 2021



Begonia flaviflora Hara (Begoniaceae): a new record to the flora of Bhutan


Phub Gyeltshen 1, Sherab Jamtsho 2, Sangay Wangchuk 3 & Dhan Bahadur Subba 4


1 Bumthang Forest Division, Department of Forest and Park Services, Trongsa, Nubi-33001, Bhutan.

2,4 Zhemagng Forest Division, Department of Forest Park Services,  Zhemgang, Shingkhar-3400, Bhutan.

3 Royal Botanical Park, Department of Forest Park Services, Thimphu, Bhutan.

1 (corresponding author), 2, 3, 4




Editor: Anonymity requested.   Date of publication: 26 March 2021 (online & print)


Citation: Gyeltshen, P., S. Jamtsho, S. Wangchuk & D.B. Subba (2021). Begonia flaviflora Hara (Begoniaceae): a new record to the flora of Bhutan. Journal of Threatened Taxa 13(3): 18050–18053.


Copyright: © Gyeltshen et al. 2021. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  JoTT allows unrestricted use, reproduction, and distribution of this article in any medium by providing adequate credit to the author(s) and the source of publication.


Funding: Self funded.


Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: Authors would like to express sincere gratitude to the director general of Department of Forest and Park Services, chief forestry officer of Zhemgang Forest Division, and staff for their constant motivation and encouragement.




The genus Begonia L. (Begoniaceae) is one of the largest genera of angiosperm in the world, estimated to comprise up to approximately 2,500 species (Tian et al. 2018), of which about 1991 are currently accepted species (Hughes et al. 2015), currently divided into 70 sections and distributed mostly in the tropical and subtropical zones in the world (Doorenbos et al. 1998; Moonlight et al. 2018).  In Asia, around 959 species in 19 sections have been recorded with maximum occurances in southeastern Asia (Shui et al. 2002; Moonlight et al. 2018).  Begonia sect. Platycentrum (Klotzsch) A. DC. is the largest section with 16 species in northeastern India (Camfield & Hughes 2018).  Grierson (1991) described 20 species of Begonias in the Flora of Bhutan, of which only 13 species are recorded from Bhutan.  No further study has been conducted on the genus in Bhutan since Grierson (1991) and the occurrence of remaning seven species including B. flaviflora are unknown.

During recent botanical exploration in Zhemgang District in August 2020, specimens of an interesting Begonia species were collected from the cool broadleaved forest.  After substantial study on its morphological characteristics and reviewing the taxonomic literature (Clarke 1879; Hara 1970; Grierson 1991; Tsuechih et al. 1999; Hughes et al. 2015; Camfield & Hughes 2018), and consultation of herbarium specimens available at Global Biodiversity Information Facility (, and Kew Science (https:/ including the type specimens, it was identified as B. flaviflora Hara, a new record to Bhutan.  The addition of one species from the current study confirms 14 species of Begonia from Bhutan and more are likely to be found and confirmed with further exploration.  Detailed morphological description, phenology, ecology, distribution and notes along with photographs are provided.  The voucher specimens are deposited at the National Herbarium (THIM!), National Biodiversity Centre, Thimphu, Bhutan.


Begonia flaviflora H. Hara

J. Jap. Bot. 45: 91. 1970. A.J.C. Grierson In: Grierson & Long. Fl. Bhutan 2(1): 245–246 (1991); K. Tsuechih, C.-I Peng & N.J. Turland. Fl. China 52(1): 174 (1999).

Begonia laciniata subsp. flaviflora Irmsch.Mitt. Inst. Allg. Bot. Hamburg. 10: 531. 1939.

Type: India, Sikkim, Darjeeling, 5 July 1969, Hara, Kurosawa & Ohashi 69218 (holotype: TI n.v.; isotype: BM000839167).

Begonia flaviflora var. gamblei (Irmsch.) Golding & Kareg. Phytologia 54: 496. 1984. Begonia gamblei (Irmsch.) F.A. Barkley & Golding Sp. Begon. Ed. 2: 44. 1974. Begonia laciniata subsp. gamblei Irmsch. Mitt. Inst. Allg. Bot. Hamburg. 10: 531. 1939. Begonia flaviflora var. gamblei H. Hara. Fl. E. Himalaya 1: 215. 1966. Begonia flaviflora var. vivida Golding & Kareg.Phytologia 54: 496. 1984

Plant monoecious, herbaceous, 30–80 cm tall.  Rhizome oblong, 6–12 × 1–3 cm with several offsets giving rise to new shoots, adventitious roots growing from the rhizome.  Stem erect, 20–40 cm long, with sparsely brownish pubescent, lowermost internodes 10–22 cm long and 6–7 mm wide, unbranching, 2–4 leaves per stem.  Stipule persistent, ovate, 10–15 × 3–5 mm, papery, keeled, apex cuspidate (1–4 mm), margin entire.  Leaves alternate; petiole cylindrical, 4–28 cm long, 3–8 mm thick, green, brownish pubescent surface; blade asymmetric, ovate to broadly ovate 10–20 × 8–23 cm, basifixed, apex acute to acuminate or shortly caudate, base deeply cordate, margin shallowly lobed and ciliate, venation palmate-reticulate, 7–8 veined; adaxial surface green or dark green with minute appressed white hairs, hairs less than 0.2mm long; abaxial surface glabrous, sparsely brownish pubescent on veins, green with purplish colour along the veins and towards the margin.  Inflorescences cymose, 1–2, terminal or axillary on long stem with 1–2 internodes, 2–4 flowers per peduncle, erect; peduncles cylindrical, 8–15 cm long, 2–3 mm wide, green to red, brownish pubescent. Floral bracts narrowly ovate, 2–3.5 × 1.5–2.5 cm, pinkish, glabrous, margin entire, base and apex truncate, adaxial surface is wrinkled and covered with soft hairs, veins numerous, decduous.  Staminate flower: pedicel up to 3cm long, pale red to pale greenish-yellow, brownish pubescent; tepals 4, golden yellow, glabrous, margin entire; outer 2, deltoid, 15–19 × 12–16 mm, cucullate, upper tepal’s apex prominently recurved, lower tepal’s apex slightly recurved, base truncate, 10–12 veined; inner 2, ovate-elliptic, 12–14 × 7–9 mm, cucullate, apex rounded to sub-acute, base slightly oblique-truncate, 9–11 veined; stamens numerous, 2–3 mm long, filaments free, anther obovate-oblong, golden yellow.  Pistillate flower: pedicel up to 3 cm long, pale yellowish-green, light pinkish-green, brownish pubescent; tepals 5, unequal, golden yellow, glabrous, margin entire to slightly wavy; outer 2, ovate, 7–11 × 5–7 mm, concave, apex acute, base truncate, 12–13 veined; inner 3, ovate to ovate-elliptic, 17.5–19 × 14–16 cm, concave, apex acute to subacute, base truncate; ovary yellowish-green, glabrous, with three unequal wings, 2 locules, placentation axillary, two branches per locule; styles 2, Y-shaped, 3–3.5 mm long, fused at base,golden yellow; stigma spiraled, papillose all around.  Capsule trigonous-globose, 7–11 × 6–8 mm, yellowish-green; longest wing obovoid-oblong, 1.5–1.7 × 1.5–1.7 cm, slightly falcate at apex, crenate, narrow towards base, lateral wings 1.6–2.2 × 0.4–0.6 cm, tuberculate on surface of the ovary including its wings.  Seeds numerous, white when young, oblong, c. 0.2–0.3 × c. 0.2 mm.

Specimens examined: THIM15583, 10 August 2019, Shingkhar, Zhemgang, Bhutan, 27.1520N, 90.8750E, 1,914–2,399 m, P. Gyeltshen & S. Sherab 012–013.

Phenology: Flowering and fruiting July to August

Habitat and ecology: This species prefers moist soil in shady areas in broadleaved at forest at 1,900–2,400 m elevation.  Associated species includes Pouzolzia hirta (Blume) Hassk., Pilea scripta (Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don) Wedd., Streptolirion volubile Edgew., Swertia bimaculata bimaculata Hook.f. & Thomson ex C.B.Clarke, Carpesium nepalense Less., Rubus calycinus Wall., Dichroa febrifuga Lour. and Impatiens pseudolaevigata Gogoi, B.B.T.Tham & Lidén.

Distribution: India, China, Mayanmar, Nepal, Malaysia, and new to Bhutan.

Notes: The new species is vegetatively similar to Begonia palmata but can be distinguished by yellow flower, smaller capsule and wings of the fruit.  The key morphological differences between B. flaviflora and its closely related taxon B. palmata is presented in Table 1 using the descriptions (Grierson 1991; Camfield & Hughes 2018).  The current distribution site is located within Biological Corridor–4 of the district with population less than 10 individuals and no threats have been observed in the field.



Table 1. Comparison of key morphological characters of Begonia flaviflora and B. palmata.


B. flaviflora

B. palmata


erect, 30–80 cm tall

erect, 45–100 cm tall


10–30 mm wide

5–15 mm wide


6–7 mm wide, brownish pubescent

5–15 mm wide, sparsely to densely tomentose to villose


ovate, 3–5 mm wide

lanceolate , 3–10 mm wide


4–28 cm long, brownish pubescent

1.5–19 cm long, densely tomentose to sparsely puberulous


ovate to broadly ovate, 10–20 x 8–23 cm, base deeply cordate

narrowly to broadly ovate, 5–20 x 2–20 cm, base truncate, or base cordate to shallowly cordate

Abaxial surface

glabrous, brownish pubescent on veins

pubescent to pilose throughout or denser on veins


narrowly ovate, 20–35 x 15–25 mm

lanceolate or sub-orbicular or
triangular, 6–17 x 3–13 mm

Staminate flower

tepals 4, golden yellow

tepals 4, white to pink

Pistillate flower

tepals 5, unequal, golden yellow

tepals 5, equal, white to pale pink


2 or 3



trigonous-globose, 7–11 mm long, longest wing obovoid-oblong, 15–17 mm long

oblong-ellipsoid, 7–18 mm long, longest wing triangular to rounded oblong, 9–20 mm long


For figure & image - - click here





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