Begonia abhak (section Petermannia, Begoniaceae) a new species from Lanuza, Surigao del Sur, Philippines

From Firenze University Press Journal: Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Geography (Webbia)

University of Florence
3 min readJul 9, 2024

Freddie A. Blasco, College of Arts & Sciences Department, Saint Theresa College of Tandag

Grecebio Jonathan D. Alejandro, College of Science and Research Center for the Natural and Applied Science, University of Santo Tomas

Danilo N. Tandang, Philippine National Herbarium, Botany and National Herbarium Division, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of the Philippines

Rosario R. Rubite, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines Manila

The Pantropical genus Begonia Linnaeus (1753: 1056) is one of the largest angiosperm genera with ca. 2120 species classified into 70 sections (Hughes et al. 2015–, Moonlight et al. 2018). The Philippines has ca. 165 species (Pelser et al. 2011– ; Hughes et al. 2015–) recognized and categorized in 3 sections, namely: Petermannia, Klotzsch (1854: 124), Baryandra A. de Candolle (1859: 122), and Platycentrum (Amoroso et al. 2023; Hughes et al. 2015–; Mazo et al. 2023). Currently the island of Mindanao recorded 42 known species of Begonia(Hughes et al. 2015–) including the latest discoveries B. fritchiana Amorosoet al.(2023:42), B. sebodensis Mazo and Rubite (2023: 88), and B. noraaunorae Blasco et al. (2023: 194). Based on PNH herbarium specimens and relevant literature, there are ca.11 recorded Begonia spe-cies inSurigao provinces (Blasco et al. 2023; Hughes et al. 2015–) including B. noraaunorae Blasco et al., (2023: 194). In addition, there are numerous medicinal plants and endemic species in the province of Surigao del Sur in southern Mindanao, however there are little data on their identification and conservation (Blasco et al. 2014). Bujon creek is located in the municipality of Lanuza, Surigao del Sur and bounded by the adjacent munici-palities of Cortes and Cantilan (Ilagan et al. 2022). Dur-ing our field work at Bujon creek to document medici-nal plants of Surigao del Sur, we discover a new species of Begonia growing abundantly on a shady, moist rocky slopes on both sides of a creek at lower elevation ca. 10 m. We assumed the species belongs to section Peter-mannia Klotch. From the first to the fourth location, we did not find any flowers but only capsules.Upon thor-ough examination of the capsule, we noticed its distinct morphology: the jagged edge and the sliced or slashed shaped of the wings of the capsules. One of our field guides said, we called that portion abhak in Bisayan,which means the margins of the capsule wings are some-what sliced or slashed. Finally on the fifth location we found a complete inflorescence. We then confirmed its placement to Petermannia due to is axillary or terminal inflorescences, where male flowers are distal while the female flowers basal, with two-tepaled staminate flowers and five-tepaled pistillate flowers (Rubite 2012). Accord-ing to our herbalist field guides, the species is locally called dap-dap which means succulent and with sour taste. It is edible and used to treat coughs, colds and skin rashes. We then got the idea from our field guides to name the new species to Begonia abhak due to its sliced or slashed margins of the capsule wings. We propose Begonia abhak Blasco, Tandang, Alejandro & Rubite(Figures 1 & 2)a new species under section Petermannia.The descriptions and color plates are hereby provided.


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