Sinningia & Friends

Sinningia leucotricha Sinningia barbata Sinningia bullata Desafinado

Welcome to the SINNINGIA and FRIENDS web site.  It is intended to provide the sinningia grower with a bit of botanical and horticultural information.  It's not scholarship, though -- it's just pictures and observations and opinions, plus facts I got from others!

This project had its (now distant) origin in an educational display (designed and formatted by Debra LaVergne) about Sinningia tubers at the 2003 American Gloxinia and Gesneriad Society convention in Sacramento.

This site is dedicated to the memory of Hans Wiehler and the Gesneriad Research Foundation.

Organization

At the top of each page is a set of links to lists of pages on this site.

  1. All published species of sinningia, vanhouttea, and paliavana.  The list also includes unpublished species which have holding names.
  2. Hybrids (but only a fraction of the ones that have been made).
  3. Tuber pictures (I love tubers).
  4. A variety of other topics, like horticulture, taxonomy, and surly, opinionated ramblings.

There's a site index and a link back to this page (except from this page).

The link always worth checking out is "What's New".  Every time a new page or picture is added, a link to it will be provided on the What's New page.




Highlights

What's new Pictures and text added in recent weeks
Overview
Quick summary of the genus Sinningia
Relationships
A taxonomical survey of sinningia, paliavana, and vanhouttea species
Key
A horticulturally oriented key to the species of sinningia, paliavana, and vanhouttea, which may help in identifying some of them.
Tubers
Debra's original educational exhibit.
Growing tips
Horticultural advice?  From me?  Good luck...
Related links
Other sites, references, about this site, contact information.


Sinningia muscicola

Pictures    

The emphasis is on showing instructive features of the plants.  I have tried to use attractive pictures whenever possible, but on some occasions I have used less-than-perfect pictures of less-than-beautiful plants when they showed some important aspect of the plant.

Also, I'm teaching myself photography, by trial and error.  We can hope that the pictures will get better as I get more experience!

Coverage

Most of this material relates to species.  There are too many hybrids, particularly of S. speciosa and the miniatures, for me to discuss in the space and time available.  Also, I don't grow very many.  Except my own.  Not that they're so great or anything, but I can't bear to throw them away.

Resources

Links

Other gesneriad-related sites.

Clubs

Gesneriad society chapters in northern California

References

Used in documentation for this site.

How to contact me

Questions, feedback, etc.








Why Sinningias Are Special

Ornamental Value

Many of the sinningia species are attractive just the way they are.  A short listing of species that will appeal to all:

Sinningia guttata

Horticultural Value and Hybridizing Potential

Some sinningias (like S. douglasii) have a very short blooming season, but others, like S. amambayensis, S. reitzii, and its hybrids bloom for many months.  Therefore it would seem that some sinningias would have potential as breeding parents for bedding plants.  Imagine a bed of plants with S. leucotricha foliage and S. cardinalis flowers!

Ecological Significance

Many gesneriads grow in places which are threatened by habitat destruction, and sinningias are no exception.  The type species (the species which defines the genus Sinningia), S. helleri, is probably extinct already!  As far as anybody knows, Sinningia concinna exists only in cultivation (and since it is not easy to grow, it is fragile there too).

Therefore keeping a sinningia alive is a contribution to maintaining the diversity of plant life on this planet.

Fragrance

Sinningia tubiflora flowers have a wonderful fragrance.  This species would be much more popular if it were easier to bloom.  Sinningia conspicua blooms easily and has a more subtle lemony scent.  A few species have very delicate, nose-of-the-beholder aromas (such as S. guttata).  Finally, several sinningias with waxy leaves have scented foliage (S. aggregata, S. amambayensis, S. carangolensis, for example).

Nectaries Amusement

Need I say more?

Nutritional Value

Baked sinningia tubers with sour cream?  Scalloped sulcata?  Guttata frittata?  Macrophylla fries?

I've always wondered about the edibility of the tubers.  Perhaps they are a wonderful source of vitamin B-52.  Sooner or later, somebody will get around to looking at their nutritional value, but they won't have a chance unless we keep them alive.


Content

Sources and Acknowledgments

Pictures Unless otherwise noted, all pictures on this site are mine, of my own plants.  See the photo credits for pictures taken by others.
Botanical information Among the many sources, the ones I have used most extensively are Many many thanks to those who helped make this information (and so much plant material) available!
Publication information Here I have relied heavily on the Smithsonian's Gesneriad Checklist, compiled and maintained by John Boggan and Lawrence Skog.

I have also used the AGGS Sinningia Register mentioned above, and The Plant-Book by D. J. Mabberley.

Also very useful is the International Plant Names Index.
Cold hardiness information Unless otherwise indicated, all the cold tolerance data on this site is from my own experience.  Since northern California winters are not as stern a test for sinningia tubers and plants as other climes, I would be grateful for information which indicated the extremes that the Sinningieae could and could not tolerate.  This would be especially useful for the non-tuberous species.