HeathcareGiant 3.6-meter tall Begonia discovered in Tibet

Giant 3.6-meter tall Begonia discovered in Tibet

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Lima, December 31, 2021Updated on 12/31/2021 01:36 pm

Chinese researchers have discovered in Tibet the tallest begonia plant in the world, with 3.6 meters in height and the thickest part of its stem with 12 centimeters in diameter.

The new species called ‘Begonia gigantica’ has been described in the open access journal ‘PhytoKeys’.

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After being dried in a herbarium and mounted on a large board, the dried specimen measured 3.1 meters in height and 2.5 meters in width, making it, according to the researchers, the largest specimen in the world of a species of Begonia. In fact, the staff at Shanghai’s Chenshan Botanical Garden are requesting the Guinness World Record for this specimen.

With more than 2,050 known species, the Begonia it is one of the largest plant genera. Since most are small grasses, a Begonia taller than a human is something very unusual. However, the newly discovered ‘Begonia gigantica’ is one of the few exceptions.

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In 2019, Dr. Daike Tian and his colleagues began a field study on wild Begonias in Tibet, China. On September 10, 2020, when Dr. Tian saw a huge Begonia in full bloom during surveys in Mêdog County, he was instantly excited. After checking its flowers, he was sure it represented a new species.

From a small population with a few dozen individuals, Dr. Tian collected two of the tallest to measure and prepare the specimens needed for further study. One of them was 3.6 meters tall, and the thickest part of its ground stem was about 12 cm in diameter.

To measure it correctly, he had to ask the driver to stand on top of the vehicle and to transport them to Shanghai and prepare dry specimens, he had to cut each plant into four sections.

Thus, to date, this plant is the tallest Begonia recorded in all of Asia. It grows on slopes under forests along streams at an elevation of 450-1,400 meters. It is distributed fragmentarily in southern Tibet, which was one of the reasons why its conservation status was assigned to ‘Endangered’ according to the Categories and Criteria of the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN).

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