The begonia flower comes from a small family with many branches. Begonias are a genus of the begoniaceae family, which only has two other members – symbegonia and hillebrandia. Despite its lack of relatives, begonias – with about 1,500 species to its name – are considered one of the top 10 largest angiosperm genera. Native to tropical regions of Asia, Central and South America, and Africa, the begonia flower thrives in a variety of sunlight – from full sun to full shade – and prefers moist, but well drained soil. The three main types of begonias include tuberous, perennials, and the very common semperflorens. All three types generally grow between six to nine inches in height, and come in varying shades of red, pink, white and yellow.
Given the large variety of species and extensive hybridization, the begonia flower has become one of the most highly prized ornamental flowers throughout Europe and the United States, and is frequently grown not only for its beautiful blossoms, but for its thick, green foliage. Cultivating, growing and tinkering with these lovely plants has become a passion for many avid growers. This can be easily noted by taking a look at the American Begonia Society, which was started in 1932 by Herbert P. Dyckman and a group of fellow enthusiasts. This group discusses the plant and its growth, helps to educate about the varieties of begonias available, and puts on many shows and demonstrations. The begonia flower has also become a part of past and current culture. For example, one cultivar of this flower has become the symbol for North Korea; red blossoms were “tucked into” the hair of the star of “Scarlet Begonias” by the Grateful Dead, and many types of begonias have made their way into botanical and still life paintings.
The begonia flower is sometimes thought to represent fear, and when given to another person, some people believe that it is a warning to beware. On the other hand, it typically represents a person with a dreamy, almost innocent nature. As a gift, these are often presented to creative individuals and children because of their fanciful symbolism and their simple, unsullied beauty. These flowers can be given in the traditional bouquet, as a single flower, or within a hanging basket. However, for a more unique twist, you can easily create an origami begonia leaf and pin it to either a single flower, or place it at the center of a small bundle of blossoms.