70 (May/June 2003)
by Normand Dufresne
Begonia listada is found in Argentina, Brazil,
and Paraguay. It came into cultivation in 1961 as B. listada hort.
which is short for horticulture and means that the name is not an official
one because there is no valid description of the plant. In 1981 Drs.
Lyman Smith and Dieter Wasshausen of the Smithsonian
described and gave it the official name Begonia listada, which is
Spanish for "striped." B. listada and its hybrids are so
distinctive that they have their own horticultural group: Shrub-like
Distinctive Foliage listada-like. This begonia can grow to be as
much as a foot in height, but its real tendency is to spread out rather
than grow tall.
The leaf is hairy dark green with a white stripe down
the middle of it. The underside is red. On average, they will be 4" long
by 1- 1 3/4" wide. On occasion B. listada will sport and produce
triangular leaves (as featured on the back cover of a past Begonian
issue), but this is not a stable mutation and the plant will soon revert
to its original leaf.
The flowers are white with pink hairs on the buds. The
buds on my plant have fallen off without opening. It's a sparse bloomer in
the fall and winter.
This [Normand's plant] B. listada, which is in
a six inch pot, is the best I've ever done in my attempts at growing this
begonia. The 108° to 110° summer temperatures in my greenhouse were too
hot, and fatal, for this begonia. Last summer I grew it outside on the
north side of the house and my plant was much happier.
In doing the research on this begonia I learned that
it can be propagated from a leaf! That will be my next