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Begonia abdullahpieei Kiew
by Chan Yoke Mui
Newsletter
Begonia abdullahpieei Kiew
by Chan Yoke Mui

Begonia (Begoniaceae) is generally known as 'asam riang' or 'asam batu'. Begonia abdullahpieei is one of the many threatened endemic begonias in Peninsular Malaysia. This rare gem is named in honour of Mr. Abdullah Piee, an experienced and dedicated field guide who has made great contributions to the research of native begonias.

Begonia abdullahpieei is geographically rare, i.e., a narrow endemic confined to a single locality in Lata Hijau, Bukit Bintang. At the local scale, however, this handsome plant occurs abundantly, adorning the dull, slippery rocks of the swift and fast-flowing waterfalls.

The charming, lustrous emerald green leaves make this species an attractive decorative item. The upper surface of the leaf feels rough to touch because of the protuding, minute spike-like hairs. Beneath, the leaf vein is red and hairy. The flower is either white or pinkish bearing yellow stamen or stigma (male and female flowers are separate). The male flower will open first followed by the female flower.

The young fruit capsule (also called a splashcup) is reddish green and turns brown upon maturity. The seeds are dispersed by rain ballast i.e., raindrops fall onto the splashcup which then vibrates and shakes the seeds off the capsule.

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