THE NATIONAL RESEARCH AND INNOVATION AGENCY
NO: 008 /SP/HM/BKPUK/I/2022
In early 2022, researchers from the Biological Research Center and the Research Center for Plant Conservation and Botanical Gardens – the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) together with four research colleagues, successfully found six new types of Begonias from Sumatra. The six species are classified under the Jackia section, with the growing characteristics of creeping. These types have been successfully described, namely Begonia araneumoides, Begonia batuphila, Begonia Panjangfolia, Begonia Hijauvenia, Begonia bronzefolia and Begonia mursalaensis.
Cibinong, 18 January 2022. Begonia is one of plant species that is widely used as an ornamental plant and some even are used as medicinal plants. Begonias, which are widely used as ornamental plants, generally have gone through a cultivation process, so they can adapt well to new environments. In addition, many types of ornamental plants have been cross-bred, resulting in beautiful and attractive cultivars, especially in the color patterns and unique leaf shapes.
A researcher at BRIN Biological Research Center, Deden Girmansyah, said that apart from cultivated begonias, many types of begonias still live in the wild. There are over 2,000 species of wild Begonia in the world. Wild begonias spread in the tropic and subtropic areas except the tropic area of Australia.
“Indonesia has various habitats that are suitable for growing wild begonias, and they can be found in almost all areas of Indonesia. Wild Begonia species in Indonesia are generally found on the highlands and in karst rocks, and only a few species are found in the lowlands,” he explained.
Deden added, Sumatra Island has a high diversity of Begonia species, so far there are more than 70 types of Begonias and over 20 new types of Begonias have been discovered recently and published in international or Global Journals.
Meanwhile, Head of BRIN Biological Research Center, Anang, said the discovery can add to the list of Indonesia’s biological wealth and confirm Indonesia’s position in the world’s top list for mega-biodiversity.
New Sumatran Begonias
Begonia araneumoides is one type that has an attractive leaf color pattern, a combination of green with white leaf veins. Meanwhile, the secondary leaf veins are circular like a spider’s web, so based on the shape of the leaf veins, they are named araneumoides which means cobwebs. The leaves are oval in shape with the edges wavy tightly and hairy. While, the young leaves are brownish green in color. Male and female flowers are white, with 3-winged fruit that is brownish green. This species is endemic to Sumatra.
Meanwhile, Begonia batuphila is found growing upright on rock walls, with plant roots attached to the rock walls. This type has variation in leaf color, namely green to brown with light green leaf veins. This species grows in the lowlands up to an altitude of 500m above sea level. Petiole is green to pink in color with ovate-shaped leaves and shallow lobed margins. The male flowers have 4 flower tents, while the female flowers have 3 white flower tents. The fruit has three wings with tapered wing tips. This species is also endemic to Sumatra.
Begonia Panjangfolia is a type of Begonia from the Jackia section which has a slightly different leaf shape from the other types in the section. The shape of the leaves is oblong or elongated, while the other types in the Jackia section are generally oval or rounded. Because of their elongated shape, they are named Panjangfolia, which means long leaves. The male flowers are white, with four white flower tents. The outer part of large flower tent is fluffy. The female flowers have two white flower tents. The ovules and young fruits are greenish-white to green, with three wings. Like the previous species, this species is also only found in Sumatra and is an endemic species.
Begonia hijauvenea, has an attractive leaf color pattern, brownish with green leaf veins. The name hijauvenea is taken from the color of the green (hijau) leaf veins, both primary and secondary leaf veins. The leaves are oval in shape with overlapping leaf bases. The margins of the leaves are deep lobed at the top of the leaves. The petiole has long white hair. Male flowers have four flower tents, two larger ones are reddish on the outside. Female flowers cannot yet be identified because they have not yet come out, while the three-winged fruit is reddish green. This species is only found in Sumatra and is one of the endemic species.
Begonia perunggufolia is a type of Begonia that has bronze leaf color with yellowish green veins. The name of this species is taken from the color of the leaves which is bronze (perunggu). 4 male flowers with flower tents and 3 flower tents for female flowers. The color of the male and female flowers is white and hairless. The fruit has three wings, light green in color with reddish fruit stalks. This species is endemic to Sumatra and has the potential to be developed as an ornamental plant.
Lastly, Begonia mursalaensis is a type of Begonia collected from the island of Mursala on an expedition made by the Bogor Botanical Gardens. This species is similar to the species on the mainland of Sumatra but has its own characteristics, the upper petiole has red hairs that are upright and stiff. The male flowers have four petals, two of which are larger and reddish at the ends. The female flowers have three flower tents, one of which is smaller. The fruit has three wings, whitish green to light green in color. This species is endemic to the island of Mursala, Sumatra.
The article on the findings of 6 new types of Sumatran Begonias has been published in the Taiwania Journal 67(1): 97?109, 2022. Photos of the findings can be accessed via the following link: https://s.id/fotoBegoniasumatera