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The Begonia in California, Part 1

Articles: The Begonia in California, Part 1

Michel Bégon, governor of the French Antilles, for whom the genus Begonia was named by Charles Plumier. Portrait etched by P Sellier in Duplessis, Un curieux du XVIIe siécle

[sidebar]Her essential Narcissism was met by his Begoniaism (concept of the potted plant). Things got so that Woman spent all her time admiring herself in mirrors, and Man, discouraged, devoted himself quietly to raising begonias, which are fairly easy to raise. Sex atrophied.

James Thurber and EB White, Is Sex Necessary? 1929[/sidebar]

The begonia found a most congenial home in California, where its cultivation reached a pinnacle. The state’s fertile soils and equable climate were ideal for many species of this tropical and subtropical genus. How this came about is a curious and circuitous story, but it mirrors that of quite a few other plants that have had their heyday in California.

The genus Begonia is found in the warmer climates of the New and Old worlds, from which it was transported to Europe and then exported west again, several centuries later, to California. The US Department of Agriculture’s Germplasm Resources Inform...

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