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Begonia masoniana

A vigorous and attractive species introduced into the UK from the Singapore Botanic Gardens by Maurice Mason in 1952. Its original source was unrecorded and its current distribution is still not clear. At the time it was suggested that it came from Malaysia or Indo China, more recently New Guinea and China have been suggested. It is such a distinctive plant that sooner or later someone will bump into it in habitat.

It produces congested clumps of corrugated knobbly foliage with the distinctive Iron Cross marking. The leaves have a tough texture, but are rather brittle and tear easily. I find it less cold tolerant than the Rex Group, and if the leaf mass is seriously damaged, the plant takes a long time to recover.

Around 1980 I tried a series of hybrids between this and Rex Group Begonias, but didn't manage to get any viable seed to set.

As you can see, the leaves act like velcro on the falling Larch needles.