About Us

About Us

American Begonia Society Membership Benefits

B. rex

Overview & Mission Statement

The American Begonia Society is a horticultural society devoted to the promotion, cultivation, and study of begonias (plant family Begoniaceae, pronounced be-gon-ee-AY-see-ee). Begonia is one of the largest genera of flowering plants with more than 2050 species and over 10,000 hybrids. Begonias are known and admired for diverse and spectacular characteristics among their foliage, flowers, type of Begonia, and size.

You may grow your plants on a window sill, under lights, outside in your garden or inside a small terrarium – we know there is at least one begonia to inspire and delight you! We are eager to share our enthusiasm, knowledge, and love of begonias with new friends.

The American Begonia Society’s mission is to foster a community dedicated to the appreciation of begonias through conservation, education, research, growing, and sharing.


The American Begonia Society was founded during the Great Depression. Begonia growing, horticultural classification, and scientific study were in their adolescence. Many of today’s species were undiscovered, and cultivars not yet developed.

On a January evening in 1932, a handful of enthusiasts led by Herbert P. Dyckman met in Long Beach, California, with the goal to form an organization to advance the cause of begonias.

The group that emerged was called the California Begonia Society. It grew rapidly with members and branches across the U.S., and by June 1934, the name was changed to the American Begonia Society to reflect a more national representation.

The first ABS branch was established in 1937, located in Ventura, California, and named for pioneer western plantswoman, Theodosia Burr Shepherd. A year later, an Eastern Branch was formed at Pomfret, Connecticut. Widespread interest in begonia culture ensued with cultivation under artificial lights and greenhouses, and an abiding interest in scientific and technical aspects of the genus. The ABS branches continued to expand across the country.


Today the American Begonia Society has members throughout the U.S. and around the world, with ABS branches across the U.S. Over half of our members are “at large” – without a branch affiliation, yet also have opportunities to connect with other members through educational programs and more.

ABS members receive the ABS bimonthly publication, The Begonian, and can take advantage of numerous member benefits, including conventions and shows, educational programs, seed sales, online bookstore, and much more.

Aims & Purposes

While ABS has a formal mission statement that articulates its values and purpose, the original Aims and Purposes of the ABS well describe the mission, work, and philosophy which have guided the organization since its founding by Herbert P. Dyckman in 1932, and continue to do so today.

Aims & Purposes of the American Begonia Society

  • To stimulate and promote interest in begonias and other shade – loving plants.
  • To encourage the introduction and development of new types of these plants.
  • To standardize the nomenclature of begonias.
  • To gather and publish information in regard to kinds, propagation, and culture of begonias and companion plants.
  • To issue a bulletin that will be mailed to all members of the society.
  • To bring into friendly contact all who love and grow begonias.