Research Article
Research Article
Begonia shenzhenensis, a new species of Begoniaceae from Guangdong, China
expand article infoDai-Ke Tian§, Bin Chen|, Yan Xiao§, Min-Min Zheng§, Bin-Jie Ge|
‡ Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
§ Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden, Shanghai, China
| Eastern China Conservation Center for Wild Endangered Plant Resources, Shanghai, China
¶ The University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Open Access


Begonia shenzhenensis D.K.Tian & X.Yun Wang, sp. nov., a new species in Begonia sect. Platycentrum of Begoniaceae from Shenzhen of Guangdong province, China, is described and illustrated. Morphologically, it is primarily similar to B. coelocentroides in the same section but differs by its denser hairs on leaf, petiole, and pedicel, abtuse anther apex, hairy ovary, and narrower adaxial fruit wing. Based on only one small population found to date, its conservation status is assigned to Critical Endangered according to the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria.


Conservation status, deciduous, morphology, rhizomatous begonia, southern China, taxonomy


Guangdong province is located in southern China, and it borders Macau and Hong Kong, two Chinese special administrative regions. Numerous surveys on plant diversity of this province have been widely conducted by a number of botanists, mainly from several research institutions, including South China Botanical Garden of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangdong Academy of Forestry, South China Agricultural University, and others. Nonetheless, some new species and new records have been recently discovered (Huang et al. 2020; Zhou et al. 2020), including two begonia species (Ding et al. 2018; Tu et al. 2020). Here we describe and illustrate a new species of Begonia, Begonia shenzhenensis D.K.Tian & X.Yun Wang, which increases the number of begonias species to 14 in Guangdong province. The other 13 species are B. circumlobata Hance, B. coptidifolia H.G.Ye, F.G.Wang, Y.S.Ye & C.-I Peng, B. cucullata Willd. (naturalized), B. edulis H.Lév., B. ehuangzhangensis Q.L.Ding, W.Y.Zhao & W.B.Liao, B. fimbristipula Hance, B. fordei Irmsch., B. grandis Dryand., B. guangdongensis Wen-Hui Tu, Bing-Mou Wang & Yu-Ling Li, B. handelii Irmsch., B. leprosa Hance, B. longifolia Blume, and B. palmata D.Don.

Taxonomic treatment

Begonia shenzhenensis D.K.Tian & X.Yun Wang, sp. nov.

Chinese name: 深圳秋海棠 Figs 1, 2


China. Guangdong: Shenzhen (深圳), Pingshan (坪山) District, Tiantou Mountain (田头山) Natural Reserve, on shallow humus soil above the rocky surface under the forest along streams, 22°43'29"N, 114°24'2"E, elev. 70 m, 6 June 2020, Dai-Ke Tian, Xiao-Yun Wang, Bin Chen & Shi-Ping Zhong, TDK4160 (holotype, CSH! CSH0182483).

Figure 1. 

Plants and habitat of B. shenzhenensis D.K.Tian & X.Yun Wang A plant at the earliest flowering time (6 June 2020) B plants with the dried fruits matured in the previous year C habitat showing mature plants and seedlings of the new species growing together with mosses and ferns above the rocks. (Photo by Dai-Ke Tian).

Specimen examined

Same locality as type, 21 September 2019, Xiao-Yun Wang, TDK3981 (paratype, CSH); Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, cultivated plants under 25 °C room temperature, 7 November 2020, Dai-Ke Tian, TDK4832 (paratype, CSH).


The new species is most similar to B. coelocentroides Y.M.Shui & Z.D.Wei in the same section, Begonia Section Platycentrum (J.F.Klotzseh) A.DC. with rhizomatous habit, four tepals of staminate flowers, five tepals of pistillate flower and two-localed ovary, but clearly differs by its densely (vs. sparsely) hairy petioles and blades, hairy (vs. glabrous) ovaries, abtuse (vs. concave) anther apex, and narrower (vs. wider) adaxial fruit wing. It is also close to the small-sized individuals (before mature) of B. edulis in appearance but differs by its short and small (vs. tall and large) and non-stemmed (vs. stemmed) plants, and hairy (vs. glabrous) pedicels, flowers, and fruits (Table 1, Fig. 2).

Table 1.

Comparison of Begonia shenzhenensis and B. coelocentroides.

B. shenzhenensis B. coelocentroides
Plant height 7–15 cm 5–10 cm
Leaf-blade densely hairy sparsely pilose to nearly glabrous
Petiole’s hair dense sparse
Peduncle and pedicel hairy glabrous
Outer staminate tepal hairy sparsely hairy
Anther apex obtuse concave
Fruit densely hairy glabrous
Adaxial wing narrower, 8–10 mm wide wider, 9–14 mm wide
Figure 2. 

Morphology of Begonia shenzhenensis D.K.Tian & X.Yun Wang A one of the largest plants with flowers (left corner: sections of leaf and petiole showing hairs) B staminate flowers showing in different directions C pistillate flowers, bracts (left: back view of 6-tepalled flower; right: front view of 5-tepalled flower) D inflorescence, stipules (left) and bracts (right) E fruits (top: fresh, bottom: dried) and ovary dissection (Photo by Dai-Ke Tian).

Herb perennial, rhizomatous, 7–15 cm tall, monoecious, epiphytic on rock with moss or humus soil. Rhizome creeping, 5–10 cm long, internodes unclear to 10 mm long, 5–13 mm thick, unbranched to rarely branched, greenish-brown. Aerial stem absent, or occasionally one very short internoded stem at anthesis. Leaves simple, basal, alternate, 4–8 each plant, deciduous in winter. Stipules persistent, pale pink, long triangular, 5–8 × 4–6 mm, abaxially hairy, apex with short arista. Petioles light-green to pink, 4–18 cm long, 1.5–5 mm thick, grooved in full-length, short greyish pubescent, less than 1.5 mm long, hair tips often curly. Leaf-blades obliquely oval-cordate, 5–22 × 3.5–16 cm; adaxially green, rarely dark green, rough, short greyish strigose, less than 1 mm long; adaxial veins slightly convex at the base, concave upper part; abaxially greyish-green or lightly red-purple, veins convex, with short greyish strigose, 1–1.5 mm long, leaf veins 7 to 6; Leaf base shallowly cordate, obtuse to nearly overlapping, decurrent part 1–4 cm long; leaf margins serrate, rarely double serrate, occasionally cleft-teethed, with arista; apex acuminate or short-caudate. Inflorescences 2–4, successively growing from leaf axil of the stem near the shoot, 11–17 cm long; peduncle light green, 8–15 cm long, 2–3.5 mm thick, greyish-white villose, pedicel less hairy, each inflorescence 3–7 flowers, 0–2 pistillate. Bracts and bracteoles greenish-white, long triangular, bracts 5–12 × 3–7 mm; bracteoles 4–11 × 2–6 mm, both abaxially sparsely white pubescent, ca. 1 mm long, apex acuminate, with sparse cilia. Staminate flower: pedicel white or light-green at low part, 1.8–3.4 (4.5) cm long, 1–2 mm thick, short greyish white-pubescent (less than 1 mm long); flower white, 2.5–4.5 × 2.4–3.7 cm; outer 2, ovate, entire, 1.2–2.2 × 1.2–2.1 cm, central part thick and abaxial with short grayish white or pink pubescent, indumentum same as pedicel; inner 2, long obovate–lanceolate, glabrous, 10–19 × 5–9 mm. androecium, 3–4 × 4–5 mm, stamens 50–92, filaments basally connate into stamen column, 2–3 mm × ca. 1 mm, free part 1–2 mm long, anthers yellow, 0.8–1.2 mm long. Pistillate flower: a pair of pale green bracteoles persistent near ovary, 3–10 × 1–4 mm; pedicel 9–18 mm long, 1.2–2 mm thick, with extremely short greyish white pubescent, less than 0.5 mm long; flower 30–37 × 25–37 mm, tepals 5 (rarely 6), outer 4 (5), slightly large, 13–18 × 7–15 mm, sparsely greyish white short pubescent, inner 1, small, glabrous, oblanceolate, 11–15 × 5–9 mm wide; gynoecium 3–4 × 3–7 mm, styles 2, stigmas 2, nearly U-shape branched, both sides spirally twisted nearly one circle; ovary greenish-white, short hairy, placentation axile, 2-loculed, each placenta 2–branched; Peduncles light-green, hairy, 15–32 cm long, ca 2 mm thick, hairy, a pair of green bracteoles often persistent near ovary; Fruits capsule, green, densely short grayish-white pubescent, 6–10 × 5–8 mm, 3–winged, unequal, abaxial wing long rectangular or subtriangular, 18–28 × 8–10 mm; lateral wings narrow, sickle-shaped or cornice or auriculate triangular, ca. 4–8 × 8–10 mm. Flowering June–July. Fruiting July–October.


The specific epithet refers to the name of Shenzhen, which includes the type locality of the new species.

Distribution and habitat

The new species is only known from its type locality in Tiantou Mountain Natural Reserve of Pingshan District of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China (Fig. 3). It grows together mainly with mosses, ferns, and other herbs on shallow humus soil above the rocks along a small stream under forest canopy.

Figure 3. 

Distribution of Begonia shenzhenensis (red dot) from Shenzhen, Guangdong of China.

Conservation status

Begonia shenzhenensis is only observed in its type locality with a very small population containing fewer than 50 individuals. Due to the plant’s relatively low ornamental value, it is possibly unlikely to be collected by plant hunters. However, there are no suitable places nearby for spreading its population. Therefore, this species should be considered as Critical Endangered (CE) according to the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria (IUCN 2019) based on the current data.


The new species was first disovered by Mr. Xiao-Yun Wang, a plant enthusiast working at Hechang Weilai Science and Technology (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd. in Guangdong province of China. On 21 September 2019, Xiao-Yun Wang posted photos of a wild begonia from Shenzhen of Guangdong province, China. At the request of Dr. Dai-Ke Tian, the living plants were collected and introduced to Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden for further study. The introduced plants grow well in two plastic pots placed in a squared polymethyl box at 25 °C room temperature and bloom from November to June. On 6 June of 2020, with the help of Xiao-Yun Wang, Dr. Dai-Ke Tian and Dr. Bin Chen conducted a field survey on this species and further confirmed that it is new to science.


Funds from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570199) and the Shanghai Administration Bureau of Landscape and City Appearance (F122416) supported this study. The authors thank Mr. Shi-Ping Zhong from Shenzhen of Guangdong province for his help on field surveys and Mr. Xiao-Chen Li for mounting specimens. Special thanks to Stephen Maciejewski, Vice-President of the American Begonia Society, and Michael LoFurno, Adjunct Professor of Temple University, Philadelphia, the USA, for editorial assistance.


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