The genus Begonia may be the largest among Angiosperms as it consists of approximately 1,500 species and many more hybrids and cultivars. Together with Hillebrandia, it makes up the family Begoniaceae in the order Cucurbitales. Begonia species are herbaceous plants distributed primarily in moist environments of tropical and subtropical areas of Central and South America, Africa, and southern Asia. The plants are grown for colorful flowers, attractive foliage and striking forms. The genus represents one of the most important floriculture crops worldwide.

The OPGC is focusing its efforts with Begonia in developing a substantial seed collection of the begonia species that have contributed to the development of the major cultivated forms, such as the Semperflorens (or fibrous-rooted) Group and the Tuberous Group. Our research aims at understanding seed production in selected species, assessing seed longevity in storage, and attempting selected interspecific crosses to incorporate new desirable traits into certain backgrounds. Traits of interest include disease resistance, yellow flowers, and cold hardiness. We collaborate with other Begonia experts including members of the American Begonia Society, public-institution breeders such as Dr. Cecil Pounders of the USDA-ARS, organizations with special collections such as the Fort Worth Botanical Garden, and other individuals.

Selected examples of our Begonia collection are listed below:

Image Species GRIN Link to taxonomy
Begonia acetosa
Begonia aconitifolia
Begonia albopicta
Begonia boliviensis
Begonia bowerae
Begonia cardiocarpa
Begonia carolineifolia
Begonia cinnabarina
Begonia coccinea
Begonia convolvulacea
Begonia coriacea
Begonia cubensis
Begonia cucullata
Begonia descoleana
Begonia diadema
Begonia dichotoma
Begonia dichroa
Begonia dipetala
Begonia dregei
Begonia echinosepala
Begonia eminii
Begonia fernandoi-costae
Begonia fischeri
Begonia foliosa
Begonia fonsecae
Begonia friburgensis
Begonia glabra
Begonia grandis
Begonia hatacoa
Begonia heracleifolia
Begonia herbacea
Begonia hernandioides
Begonia holtonis
Begonia hydrocotylifolia
Begonia imperialis
Begonia johnstonii
Begonia juliana
Begonia kellermanii
Begonia listada
Begonia manicata
Begonia mazae
Begonia nelumbiifolia
Begonia odorata
Begonia paleata
Begonia plebeja
Begonia popenoei
Begonia rajah
Begonia rex
Begonia robusta
Begonia roxburghii
Begonia sanguinea
Begonia sericoneura
Begonia solananthera
Begonia soli-mutata
Begonia strigillosa
Begonia subvillosa
Begonia tayabensis
Begonia tenuifolia
Begonia ulmifolia
Begonia valida
Begonia venosa
Begonia wollnyi
Begonia x angularis