Greenhouse Begonia 'Richmondensis' Photo: Claude Lafond Begonia 'Richmondensis' Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Claude Lafond) Begonia 'Pink Minx' Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Claude Lafond) The Begoniaceae and Gesneriads Greenhouse Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Claude Lafond) This plant wall resembles a vertical cliff face like one in the wild Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Claude Lafond) The botanical Garden's collection of begonias has earned an international reputation Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Claude Lafond) The first begonias arrived at the Montréal Botanical Garden in 1937 Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Gilles Murray) Begoniaceae and Gesneriads grow in a wide variety of habitats Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Claude Lafond) Begonia (Begonia integerrima) Photo: Jardin Botanique de Montréal (Claude Lafond) OngletsDescriptionWhy have we grouped Begoniaceae and Gesneriads together in the same greenhouse? What do they have in common? Their beauty, their tremendous diversity, their many adaptation strategies, and much more. In fact, you’d be quite likely to find them in similar habitats in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. They grow in places that are very humid for at least part of the year. Begoniaceae Just two genera making up a whole botanical family certainly doesn’t seem like much. Even stranger, the genus Begonia represents 99% of the family – 1,500 species, many of them with very showy foliage and different habits. Some are epiphytes, while others are climbers or shrubs, and some are perennials and other annuals. But all begonias have one feature in common: asymmetrical leaves. Gesneriads Everyone knows African violets, of course! They belong to the genus Saintpaulia and are part of the large tropical family called Gesneriaceae, or Gesneriads. Plants in this family have colourful flowers in various shapes, the result of long evolution alongside the pollinators that help propagate them. Adaptation – key to survival Begoniaceae and Gesneriads grow in a wide variety of habitats, from lowland tropical forests to mountainous regions. They are often found in places with high humidity – cliffs running with water, cloud forests, etc. Oddly enough, they also grow in tropical forests with alternating dry and rainy seasons. Some species found in these habitats lose their leaves and go dormant until conditions are right again: a winning adaptation strategy! Area334 m²Temperaturedaytime: 21°C, nighttime: 20°CHumidity35%For more informationBegoniaceaeGesneriadsSaintpaulia Map Shade garden Flowery Brook and Lilacs Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion Aquatic Garden Reception Gardens Peace Garden Courtyard of the Senses Chinese Garden Youth Gardens Alpine Garden Japanese Garden Leslie Hancock Garden Shrub Garden Toxic plantsMedicinal plantsMonastery GardenQuébec Corner Garden of Innovations Economic (Useful) Plant Garden Perennial Garden Arboretum Rose Garden First Nations Garden ExploreWorth exploringPlant wall: inspired by nature This plant wall resembles a vertical cliff face like one in the wild. A lush, colourful space can be created by taking advantage of plants’ ability to grow on such surfaces. These plants are hanging on a large board covered in a felted material. Tubing runs up and down the structure and nozzles run across it, to keep the plants watered. Rock wool cubes are held in place with a net. The plants are then anchored in between the cubes, so the roots can spread and the plants can flourish. Did you know?Did you know?Covering vertical surfaces Few plants manage to colonize rocky surfaces where there is little humus to be found. Given the lack of competition, these sites are popular with various Gesneriad genera and a few Begonia species. Their tiny seeds – as fine as dust! – are able to penetrate the narrowest cracks, take root in the lichen or moss inside and thrive. Life in the shade Everyone knows that most plants seek sunlight in order to perform photosynthesis. As some have evolved, however, they have developed clever adaptations that allow them to thrive in shadier settings. The leaves of Vanhouttea brueggeri are arranged opposite each other on the stem and set at 90° to the next pair. That way each leaf receives the maximum amount of sunlight without blocking its neighbours. One of the two opposite leaves on the Columnea sp. stem is larger than the other, making it much more likely to capture sunlight. The first begonias arrived at the Montréal Botanical Garden in 1937. The collection earned an international reputation thanks to Mr. Teuscher's efforts.