Begonia melanobullata is a new-to-the-scene, awe-inspiring species hailing from limestone areas in northwest Vietnam. As it is quite new to cultivation, my experience growing it is so far limited. However, it has responded well for me using the almost-closed terrarium type culture that suits so many of the other rainforest understory species. The only exception is that I incorporate a roughly 10% ratio of limestone chips with my otherwise pro-mix based potting medium.
In its native habitat, it is described as being found clinging to limestone cliffs & rock crevices in shade. I suspect it will be somewhat wet-sensitive - so keep that in mind. It should be understood that this may be a challenging species - time will tell.
The foliage of B. melanobullata is a jaw-dropping mix of raised black (melano) cones (bullae) that rather resemble teeth, though not sharp to the touch. The tip of each sports a single erect hair-bristle.
Begonia melanobullata is VERY closely related to Begonia ferox and both are similar in appearance when mature. Even their natural range, though from differing countries, is actually proximally close. The main distinguishing characteristics are that B. melanobullata forms its "teeth" even as a very young plant, while in B. ferox, these are not typically developed until later, near maturity. In addition, the hair-bristles atop the bullae are deciduous (fall away) over time on B. ferox, while they are persistent (remain attached) on B. melanobullata.
Offered here as husky young plants in 2 1/2 - 3" pots.
View Terrarium / Begonia Culture Sheet
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