Sinningia helleri

  1. Leafbacks
  2. Flowerbuds
  3. Flower

Sinningia helleri is the type species of the genus Sinningia, which means the genus is tied to this species.  As long as the genus is recognized, it must include S. helleri.  Therefore, to some extent, the definition of sinningia depends on the characteristics of S. helleri.

Until a few years ago, this species was unknown either in the wild or in cultivation, and was believed extinct.  It was found in the wild in 2015 and Mauro Peixoto distributed seeds.  There will be an article in an upcoming Gesneriads magazine about the rediscovery.

A few people sowed seeds obtained from Mauro.  Most got germination.  The seedlings bore a strong resemblance to Sinningia guttata plants at that stage.

This page includes up-to-date information whenever possible.  To see the pre-rediscovery page for this species, including a print and a photograph, click here.


This plant, photographed on 15 December 2015, was just over 4 months old at the time, from seed.  It was 20 cm [8 inches] across at this time.  The leaves are more silvery than those of the blooming plant below.

This plant was grown by Hung Nguyen of Santa Rosa, California.  It is less than three months old at this point.  The glossy leaves and emphatic red midveins emphasize its resemblance to Sinningia guttata.


This picture (of the same plant, on the same date) shows the striking red coloration on the backs of the leaves.



(From Hung's picture of his own plant, taken 7 October 2015.)


(Hung's picture of his own plant, taken early November 2015.)

Feature table for Sinningia helleri

Please note, the information in this table is totally provisional, until more horticultural experience has been obtained.

Plant Description

Growth Indeterminate?
Habit Stem(s) upright, red.
Leaves Green, glossy like those of S. guttata or silvery-gray.
Some red coloration on back, especially venation.
Dormancy No information yet


Inflorescence So far, it's just one flower per axil. Probably, it will prove to have pair-flowered cymes in the axils.
Corolla White, usually five lobes.
Lobes have faint grooves (probably bee-bright).
Corolla tube is yellow, with some longitudinal red striping.
Calyx Vivid dark red.
Season Autumn? (That's when Hung's plant bloomed.)

Horticultural aspects

Hardiness No information yet.  One guess: similar to that of S. guttata.
Recommended? You think?


Taxonomic group It has long been speculated that this species was closely related to S. guttata.  According to preliminary information from Alain Chautems (email communication to Gesneriphiles mailing list), this speculation appears to be correct.  Accordingly, it should be in the speciosa group.


Sinningia helleri was first published in 1825 by Nees.
This represented the first publication of the genus Sinningia.