Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Begonia picta Sm.

Half-hardy tuberous rooted begonia with stems to 38cm, ovate leaves to 12cm long, dark green mottled with white and purple tinged above, and pink flowers to 3cm across, all year round under good conditions.  [RHSD].  Hortus Second describes Begonia picta as probably a garden form of Begonia coccinea, but may be describing Begonia picta Hort. Henders. ex A.DC., synonym Begonia griffithii Hook., probably a different plant.  It seems likely that Macarthur’s plant is that figured in Loddiges’ Botanical Cabinet.

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This curious plant is of very low growth, flowering when about six inches high.  The leaves have numerous pale spots on them: these, when magnified, appear to be little elevations, all of which, as well as the whole surface of the leaves, are covered with minute kind of crystal. […] The flowers are large and scented.’  [LBC no.571/1821].  ‘Neither my own figure in Exotic Flora, nor that of Loddiges in the Botanical Cabinet, does justice to the beauty of this plant, and the size of its flowers.  This is often the case with plants that are figured when they first bloom after their introduction to this country; afterwards they become stronger, and flower in much greater perfection.’  [BM t.2962/1830].  Introduced to Britain in 1818.  [JD].  

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1857 catalogue only [T.142/1857].  Desideratum to Loddiges’ nursery, 13th February, 1848, the probable source [MP A2933-1, p.172].  Some species of Begonia appear to have been received from Loddiges’ as Macarthur wrote in a letter dated 1st February, 1849 ‘the Begonias [ … ] multiplied by striking cuttings from them’ [MP A2933-1, p.185].  First listed in a handwritten note in an 1850 catalogue [MP A2947A].  


Published Jun 20, 2009 - 03:55 PM | Last updated Jul 14, 2010 - 04:55 PM

Figured are ovoid leaves with brown-purple patches and light pink flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.2962, 1830.

Begonia picta Sm. | BM t.2962/1830 | BHL

Family Begoniaceae
Region of origin


Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Begonia picta 

Confidence level medium