Thursday, May 31, 2018

[Botany • 2018] Taxonomic Status of Begonia promethea (sect. Petermannia, Begoniaceae) in Borneo

Begonia promethea Ridl.

 in Kiew, Julia, Ling, et al., 2018.
Gardens' Bulletin Singapore. 70(1)

The rediscovery of Begonia promethea Ridl. for the first time since its description in 1906 led to the discovery that the later described B. beccarii Warb. is synonymous with it and that it belongs in Begonia sect. Petermannia. It is a rare, endangered species known only from three localities, two locations from the Kuching Division, Sarawak, Malaysia and another one from West Kalimantan, Indonesia. A detailed, illustrated description and a distribution map of Begonia promethea are provided. We suggest an IUCN conservation category of EN B2ab(iii). Lectotypes for both names are designated.

Keywords. Begonia beccarii, conservation, Sarawak, taxonomy  

Fig. 2. Habit of Begonia promethea Ridl. in Bengkayang, West Kalimantan. [WEKBOE 185.]
 Photo: A. Randi

Begonia promethea Ridl., J. Straits Branch Roy. Asiat. Soc. 46: 259 (1906). 
– TYPE: Borneo, Sarawak, Bau District, Buso, Bukit Tundong, September 1903, ...

Begonia beccarii Warb., syn. nov., ...


Etymology. The meaning of the specific epithet is obscure. Prometheus was the Greek god who fashioned clay to create the first people, and who was chained to a rock to have his liver pecked out by an eagle for all eternity as a punishment for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humanity. Ridley gives no hint as to the connection between him and this begonia, but we speculate it may be due to the isolated sandstone rocks on which the species grows, where Ridley noted he ‘could reach but few plants of it’.

R. Kiew, S. Julia, C.Y. Ling, A. Randi, D. Girmansyah and M. Hughes. 2018. Taxonomic Status of Begonia promethea (sect. Petermannia, Begoniaceae) in Borneo. Gardens' Bulletin Singapore. 70(1);  155–161.