Sinningia harleyi

This plant is very attractive, but it can be a challenge to keep it alive.  If you can find it, give it a try!

  1. Tuber
  2. Fruit
  3. Calyx
  4. Feature table
  5. External link
  6. Publication and etymology

I have one seedling of Sinningia harleyi from Brazil Plants seed, sowed in 2010.  It bloomed for the first time in August 2012.

The nearest relative of this species appears to be S. nordestina, with which it seems to share the rambling habit: weak stems which sprawl if they are not supported, unless the plant is grown in strong light.  So far, I have only grown this plant in artificial light.

S. harleyi flower

This picture of the top of the plant was taken a few weeks before the flower picture above.  The flowerbuds are visible.  By the time the first flower opened, the internodes had extended quite a bit.  The one above the axils from which the flowers emerged was 8 cm [3+ inches].

S. harleyi plant

This picture shows the plant on 3 October 2012, several weeks after the top picture.  Lots of flowers, more buds coming.  Why isn't this species more popular???  The flowers aren't small either: corolla tube is 4 cm [1.5 inches] long, and the corolla face is 2 cm [almost 1 inch] across.

The plant is growing in a 2.5-inch [6-cm] pot.  With the disproportion between pot size and plant size, it should not be surprising that it needs watering every day.

S. harleyi plant


This tuber was produced by a cutting from the original seedling in 2012.  Unfortunately, as of 8 September 2013, it has not sprouted.

The original seedling's tuber is more conventional, but multi-lobed, which might mean it could be broken up for propagation.  It did sprout in early 2013.

harleyi: tuber


This picture shows two developing fruits (only one in focus) of Sinningia harleyi.  The curled calyx lobes (see below) do not entirely enclose the expanding capsule.  At the moment, it looks to be a standard sinningia fruit, except for the distinctive calyx.

S. harleyi fruit


The flowerbud of Sinningia harleyi is attractive.  The calyx lobes are puckered to make a sort of pointer.  There must be a botanical reason, but at the moment, it appears to be just for my entertainment.

The calyx entirely encloses the developing corolla bud until about a week before the flower opens.

The dark green trough is actually formed by the backfolded edges of two adjacent calyx lobes.  The center of the backside of a calyx lobe is the light-colored section between the two dark raised walls of the adjacent troughs.  The tips of the five calyx lobes converge at the tip of the developing corolla bud until it outgrows them.

S. harleyi flowerbud

Feature table for Sinningia harleyi

Plant Description

Growth Indeterminate
Habit Stem(s) upright, sprawling except in strong light.
Leaves Green, sometimes sticky
Dormancy Mine has a tuber.  It went dormant in the winter of 2011-12 and sprouted in April 2012.


Inflorescence Single axillary flowers
Corolla Red, tubular, about 4 cm [1.5 inches] long.  Lobes flared. Darker dotted strips on interior of tube.
Calyx Green, five lobes, each with edges folded back and tip bent far forward.  See discussion above
Season Late summer?

Horticultural aspects

Hardiness I have no data yet.
Recommended? Yes! I do not (yet) understand why this attractive plant is not more widely grown.


Taxonomic group In a two-species group in the Corytholoma clade. Previous molecular results grouped it with S. nordestina, but now it appears most closely related to the recently discovered species S. sp. "Catoles".
Habitat Brazil, state of Bahia. It grows in campo rupestre vegetation of the Chapada Diamantina (a mountain range in central Bahia).

External Links

Mauro Peixoto's Brazilian Plants site has two pages about this species, one for the pink form and one for the red form.


Wiehler and Chautems, 1991.