The begonia genus is a huge one, covering climbers, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, which range in size from tiny, ground covering creepers to woody giants of up to 6 ½ ft. (2 m) tall. Their root systems (by which they are usually categorized) can be fibrous, tuberous, or rhizomatous, and some also have aerial roots, which can vary from woody to succulent.
Other characteristics are common to all the plants throughout the genus. For example, the leaves might vary considerably in color, pattern, and texture, but all are produced alternately from stipules (sheaths that surround the new leaves), and are asymmetric in appearance.
The waxy flowers are carried in clusters of a single sex, although both sexes are borne on the same plant. The female flowers are less showy than the male, and have a characteristic 3-winged ovary behind the petals. Begonias are from the tropics and subtropics, especially the Americas, and make good indoor plants, either in the house or a conservatory, especially as many do not require direct sunlight.