If you have a begonia and it is flowering, have you noticed that it has two different-looking flowers? Did you know there are separate male and female flowers? Plants, like the holly used for decoration during the holidays, have plants with male flowers and plants with female flowers and you have to have one plant of each to produce those red berries. Kind of weird, right? Those are called dioecious plants, as you need two.
So monecious plants are plants that have male and female flowers on the same plant. So no, you don’t need two plants to make seeds. In Greek mon=one and oikos=house, so one plant has everything it needs “in house” to reproduce. A begonia has male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers on the same plant. Most of the flowers shown below are from the ‘Canary Wings’ dragon wing begonia.
Have you noticed the difference? The female flowers have a kind of curly-looking yellow pistils in the middle of the flower as you can see below on the right. The male flowers on the other hand have stamens which you can see on the left.
Another way to tell it is a female flower is by the presence of a winged ovary underneath the flower. Below you can see the ovaries from the back.
The ovaries, of course, are the keeper of the seeds. As you can see below on the begonia boliviensis, the seed capsules are ripening and it is easy to see the “winged” part of the ovary.
I love flowers and sometimes we just admire them but don’t really LOOK at them. These begonias I pass every day on my porch have enraptured me and I couldn’t help but take a closer look at the flowers. Have you noticed your begonia flowers? Did you know there were male and female flowers on the same plant? Take teh time to really look at your plants.
Have a great week, plant friends, and always stay curious!