My begonia maculata has started flowering. I was given a cutting by my friend Emily a year or so ago and since then I’ve propagated several more plants from it. Begonia maculatas don’t fit the standardised image of a plant that you might see in a biology textbook – for a start the leaves are asymmetrical and it looks like there’s some fancy stuff going on with the flowers.
I know GCSE Biology was a long time ago but I’m pretty sure back then flowers just had petals, stamens, stigmas, and sepals. So what are all these extra bits doing here? It seems that not all flowers follow quite the same layout and some plants have only female flowers and some only male ones. I had some vague knowledge of this already, but hadn’t realised there were other variations to it.
Begonias it would appear, are ‘monoecious’ meaning that they produce separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The ones my plant is currently displaying are female, apparently, but I don’t know how you can tell that.
Then I read about tepals, bracts and lanceolate leaves and quite quickly got out of my depth, so I think a bit of homework might be needed in order to understand all of this. For now I’ll just enjoy looking at it, even if I don’t know which bit is which.