Sinningia species

Sinningia is a genus in the Gesneriaceae family that is mostly tuberous -- although some species are fibrous-rooted shrubs and some produce only rudimentary tubers. A few species are "stoloniferous," producing satellite tubers (e.g., S. tubiflora), and most species are lithophytes (growing on rocks) or epiphytes, rather than truly terrestrial. More information can be found on the Sinningia index page. This page has information and photos of some of the species.

Information about hybrids and pictures of them can be found on the Sinningia hybrids wiki page.


Sinningia aggregata (Ker Gawl.) Wiehler is native to Brazil. Joseph Theunissen photographed it and reported: "During a trip through Brasil I found between Santos and São Paulo a Sinningia with long upstanding branches. The leaves are like velvet and when you rub a leaf it smells like citron." Members of the gersneriphiles list identify this as S. aggregata. It has a range of flower colors and a habit closely resembling that in the picture. Its leaves are often fragrant, although one source characterizes the texture as "sticky", not velvet. The geographical range of Sinningia aggregata includes Paraná, Santa Catarina, and São Paulo states in Brazil (information courtesy of Gesneriad World Checklist). The lemony fragrance is also characteristic.

Probably Sinningia aggregata, Joseph Theunissen

Sinningia aghensis Chautems is a very tall species with red-wine colored flowers atop tall peduncles. Photo 1 was taken in situ in Brazil by Tsuh Yang Chen. Photos 2-4 by Alan Lavergne show the flowers in detail and the habit.

Sinningia aghensis, Tsuh Yang ChenSinningia aghensis, Alan LavergneSinningia aghensis, Alan LavergneSinningia aghensis, Alan Lavergne

Sinningia amambayensis Chautems is widely distributed from Paraguay to Brazil. The photo below was taken by J. Schofield of a plant in cultivation.

Sinningia amambayensis, J. Schofield

Sinningia araneosa Chautems, a species from Brazil, is a relatively small species with extremely fuzzy hairs on the leaves and stem. The epithet refers to "spiders". The photo below was taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Sinningia araneosa, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia bragae Chautems, M.Peixoto & Rossini was introduced into cultivation under the name Sinningia sp. 'Ibitioca'. The photo below from Tsuh Yang Chen is of a plant in situ in Brazil.

Sinningia sp. nov. 'Ibitioca' in situ Brazil, Tsuh Yang Chen

Sinningia brasiliensis (Regel & E.Schmidt) Wiehler & Chautems is native to Eastern Brazil. Photo from Dennis Kramb who wrote on the pbs list: "940 days after sowing the seeds, Sinningia brasiliensis ex. Serra Bonita is now blooming. I was expecting it to be darker on the inside, but I can't complain because those freckles are delightful. I was also expecting some fragrance but there's none at all."

Sinningia brasiliensis, Dennis Kramb

Sinningia bullata Chautems & M.Peixoto is native to southern Brazil. The specific epithet reflects the "bullate" or crinkled appearance of the leaves. This species is easy to grow and when given water, does not drop its leaves to go into dormancy. Cuttings have difficulty rooting, but can be remedied by rubbing away the cottony hairs that surrounds the stem. The photos were taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Sinningia bullata, Nhu NguyenSinningia bullata, Nhu NguyenSinningia bullata, Nhu NguyenSinningia bullata, Nhu NguyenSinningia bullata, Nhu NguyenSinningia bullata, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia douglasii (Lindl.) Chautems is native to Brazil and Argentina. This is a rare red form of this species and a photo of the growth by John Ingram.

Sinningia douglasii, John IngramSinningia douglasii, John Ingram

Sinningia gerdtiana Chautems is native to Parana State, Brazil. It is one of the few non-tuberous species in the genus. It grows in humid and semi-shade in the wild, but high humidity is not required in cultivation. The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Sinningia gerdtiana, Nhu NguyenSinningia gerdtiana, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia gesneriifolia (Hanst.) Clayberg is native to Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. It is one of the few non-tuberous species in the genus. It prefers partly sunny (or light shade) growth conditions. The plant can be quite large, growing to 1 m (3 ft) tall. The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Sinningia gesneriifolia, Nhu NguyenSinningia gesneriifolia, Nhu NguyenSinningia gesneriifolia, Nhu NguyenSinningia gesneriifolia, Nhu NguyenSinningia gesneriifolia, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia guttata Lindl. is called such because of its spotting (gutta = spot, drop or speck). It is native to southern Brazil. Plants can bloom even when they are relatively small. Some clones are reported to be fragrant. Photos 1-3 were taken by Alan Lavergne. The first one shows the variability in spotting in the flowers.

Sinningia guttata, Alan LavergneSinningia guttata, Alan LavergneSinningia guttata, Alan Lavergne

The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Sinningia guttata, Nhu NguyenSinningia guttata, Nhu NguyenSinningia guttata, Nhu NguyenSinningia guttata, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia hatschbachii Chautems is native to the Atlantic forest in Santa Catarina State, Brazil. Plants grow on rocks in shady places. The plant can get quite large. The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen of a plant grown by Alan Lavergne.

Sinningia hatschbachii, Nhu NguyenSinningia hatschbachii, Nhu NguyenSinningia hatschbachii, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia helleri Nees is the type species of the genus Sinningia. It was described in 1829 (as Gloxinia schottii) and grown for a while in Europe before being lost in cultivation. Efforts to relocate this species in the type locality north of Rio de Janeiro failed, and the plant was thought to have gone extinct from habitat. Around 2014, an image of this plant showed up on social media, which was promptly identified as the lost species. Seeds became available in 2015, and members of the San Francisco Gesneriad Society were the first to grow and bloom this species outside of Brazil. The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen of the very first plant that bloomed, grown by a member of the San Francisco Gesneriad Society.

Sinningia helleri, Nhu NguyenSinningia helleri, Nhu NguyenSinningia helleri, Nhu NguyenSinningia helleri, Nhu NguyenSinningia helleri, Nhu NguyenSinningia helleri, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia hirsuta (Lindl.) G.Nicholson is from Brazil. Photograph by Dennis Kramb who described the plant to the PBS list here. (hirsutus = hairy)

Sinningia hirsuta, Dennis Kramb

Sinningia iarae Chautems is native to Sao Paulo State, Brazil. It is a relatively new comer to the collector world, named in 1995. S. iarae has proven to be hardy in NC and has been used extensively in a lot of primary hybrids in hopes of increasing color range. Photo by John Ingram.

Sinningia iarae, John Ingram

Sinningia insularis (Hoehne) Chautems is native to Sao Paulo State, Brazil. It grows on rocky outcrops in full sun. The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Sinningia insularis, Nhu NguyenSinningia insularis, Nhu NguyenSinningia insularis, Nhu NguyenSinningia insularis, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia leopoldii (Scheidw. ex Planch.) Chautems is native to the Atlantic forest in Santa Catarina State, Brazil. The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen. Photos 4-5 show flowers that has unusual side growths, even though the same plant (in photos 1-3) didn't produce these growths the year before.

Sinningia leopoldii, Nhu NguyenSinningia leopoldii, Nhu NguyenSinningia leopoldii, Nhu NguyenSinningia leopoldii, Nhu NguyenSinningia leopoldii, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia leucotricha (Hoehne) H.E.Moore is a great garden plant for southern California and can be grown in full sun along the coast. This is one of the most common species grown, sometimes mistakenly sold as S. canescens. It does fine with afternoon shade elsewhere. The salmon color is great and the fuzzy white leaves are a treasure. It is quite often sold by succulent growers because of the exposed caudex which can be quite attractive. The flowers are a beautiful salmon and open before the leaves are fully formed. These small leaves will expand over a month or so to reach 6-8" long. The first photo was taken by John Ingram and the next two by Bill Dijk. The third picture was taken three weeks after the second.

Sinningia leucotricha, John IngramSinningia leucotricha, Bill DijkSinningia leucotricha, Bill Dijk

The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Sinningia leucotricha, Nhu NguyenSinningia leucotricha, Nhu NguyenSinningia leucotricha, Nhu NguyenSinningia leucotricha, Nhu NguyenSinningia leucotricha, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia macropoda (Sprague) H.E.Moore is a beautiful medium-sized plant. Photo by Tsuh Yang Chen of a plant in situ in Brazil.

Sinningia macropoda, Tsuh Yang Chen

Sinningia macrostachya (Lindl.) Chautems has a native range of Brazil to Uruguay. It is a large leaf plant with few flower with leaves that can reach 10" across each and have the feel of sandpaper. Photo by John Ingram.

Sinningia macrostachya, John Ingram

Sinningia magnifica (Otto & A.Dietr.) Wiehler is native to southeastern Brazil. The first photo was taken by John Ingram and the second by Tsuh Yang Chen in situ in Brazil.

Sinningia magnifica, John IngramSinningia magnifica, in situ Brazil, Tsuh Yang Chen

Sinningia muscicola Chautems, T.Lopes & M.Peixoto entered cultivation under the name Sinningia sp. Rio das Pedras and was eventually given a species name. The epithet muscicola translates to "growing with moss". It is native to Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. It is one of the four micromini species (along with S. pusilla, S. conncina, and S. minima) that benefits from being grown under cover, although it can be grown open in places with high humidity. The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen. The last photo shows this plant being grown on a rock that does quite well with very little space for root room.

Sinningia musicola, Nhu NguyenSinningia musicola, Nhu NguyenSinningia musicola, Nhu NguyenSinningia musicola, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia pusilla (Mart.) Baill. is native to Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. It is one of the four micromini species (along with S. muscicola, S. conncina, and S. minima) of the genus. There are several forms in cultivation, some of which have been used extensively in hybridization. It should be grown under cover because of the small nature of the plant that dries out too fast in open air.

Sinningia pusilla 'White Sprite' is an alba variant of the species. It is much slower growing and flowers much more shyly than the typical species. It also has much lower tolerance for heat, cold, and wet media than the species. The photo below was taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Sinningia pusilla 'White Sprite', Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia ramboi G.E.Ferreira, Waechter & Chautems is native to Southern Brazil where it grows on exposed cliffs at higher elevations. During its dormant period it needs cold temperatures (probably 4 to 6 weeks near freezing) in order for flower buds to set. When the plant resumes growth, the flower buds emerge immediately. Photos from Dennis Kramb who after 7 years of growing it, learned what it needed to flower.

Sinningia ramboi, Dennis KrambSinningia ramboi, Dennis KrambSinningia ramboi, Dennis Kramb

Sinningia reitzii (Hoehne) L.E.Skog is native to Santa Catarina State, Brazil where it grows in open places along road sides. In cultivation plants need good light to flower well. Photo 1 was taken by J. Schofield and photos 2-3 were taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Sinningia reitzii, Jinean SchofieldSinningia reitzii, Nhu NguyenSinningia reitzii, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia richii Clayberg is native to Espírito Santo state, Brazil. Flowers are variable from white to yellow to purple. More information about its location and forms can be found here. The form that is common in cultivation is 'Robson Lopes'.

Sinningia richii 'Robson Lopes' is a yellow form that was rediscovered and circulates around in cultivation. It appreciates good air movement otherwise it is prone to powdery mildew. The photos below were taken by Alcie Maxwell.

Sinningia richii 'Robson Lopes', Alcie Maxwell.jpgSinningia richii 'Robson Lopes', Alcie Maxwell.jpgSinningia richii 'Robson Lopes', Alcie Maxwell.jpgSinningia richii 'Robson Lopes', Alcie Maxwell.jpgSinningia richii 'Robson Lopes', Alcie Maxwell.jpg

Sinningia schiffneri Fritsch is a shrubby species, with a rudimentary tuber. Photo taken in situ in Brazil, by Tsuh Yang Chen.

Sinningia schiffneri, in situ Brazil, Tsuh Yang Chen

Sinningia sellovii (Mart.) Wiehler is distributed from Bolivia to Brazil and northeastern Argentina. The first two photos by John Ingram show the flowers and the three full plants in 5 and 7 gallon containers. The last photo is of the plant in the wild taken in October of 2003 at Iguazú Falls, Argentina, by Mark Wilcox.

Sinningia sellovii, John IngramSinningia sellovii, John IngramSinningia sellovii, Mark Wilcox

Sinningia speciosa (G.Lodd. ex Ker Gawl.) Hiern is a widespread species with many forms that is native to a broad range in South America but mostly Brazil. The Brazil plants website alone records about 20 forms of the species. This species is one of the most extensively known and has been used in many hybrids. It can now be found in common florist shops under the name "gloxinia". Photo by Dennis Kramb.

Sinningia speciosa, Dennis Kramb

Sinningia speciosa 'Cardoso Morereira Pink' The photos below by Nhu Nguyen show a plant that came under this name. It is not exactly like the one shown on brazilplants.com, but that may also be due to different cultivation environments.

Sinningia speciosa 'Cardoso Moreira Pink', Nhu NguyenSinningia speciosa 'Cardoso Moreira Pink', Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia sp. photo was taken from the northeast of Argentina by Germán Roitman who identified it as Sinningia stricta (Hook. & Arn.) Wiehler which is a synonym of Sinningia elatior (Kunth) Chautems. It is a plant with big tubers and pale red flowers that are visited by hummingbirds. Note from John Ingram: "this photo looks a lot like what should be labeled as S. warmingii. S. warmingii has straight corollas while S. elatior is dorsally curved." Both species can be found in Argentina. Sinningia elatior is listed on Plants of the World Online as distributed in northeast Argentina and the photos there look very much like this photo.

Sinningia sp., Germán Roitman

Sinningia sulcata (Rusby) Wiehler is native to Bolivia. Photos from Dennis Kramb of flowering February 2021.

Sinningia sulcata, Dennis KrambSinningia sulcata, Dennis KrambSinningia sulcata, Dennis Kramb

Sinningia tubiflora (Hook.) Fritsch is a lovely tuberous species that produces long tubular flowers with a lovely delicate sweet perfume, reminiscent of 'Froot Loops' cereal. In contrast to the lovely fragrant flowers, the foliage smells foul when bruised. The species is somewhat hardy and can survive to -6 °C frost in Canberra, Australia and can be grown in sheltered areas of USDA zone 6. It can be grown very easily in the ground, going dormant each winter and then re-sprouting with blooms in early summer. Plant the tubers in an area that gets full sun and lots of heat. They do not seem to mind winter rainfall as long as the soil is well drained. The plants need a cool winter dormancy (lower than 15 °C) in order to flower the following year. In warm climates such as Honolulu, Hawai`i this species remains evergreen and vigorous yet fails to reflower. It is probably best to allow the foliage to dry out before removing the stems from the plant. This species blooms in summer atop new growth that emerges in late spring (Uluwehi Knecht). It can produce a number of tubers and form nice colonies over time (John Ingram).

Photos 1-2 were taken by Paul Tyerman. Photo 3 was taken by John Ingram. Photos 4-6 were taken by Uluwehi Knecht. Photo 4 shows the fuzzy leaves as they break dormancy. Photo 5 offers a side view of the flower and photo 6 shows a direct frontal view.

Sinningia tubiflora, Paul TyermanSinningia tubiflora, Paul TyermanSinningia tubiflora, John IngramSinningia tubiflora, emerging growth, Uluwehi KnechtSinningia tubiflora, side view, Uluwehi KnechtSinningia tubiflora, frontal view, Uluwehi Knecht

The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Sinningia tubiflora, Nhu NguyenSinningia tubiflora, Nhu NguyenSinningia tubiflora, Nhu NguyenSinningia tubiflora, Nhu NguyenSinningia tubiflora, Nhu Nguyen

Sinningia hybrids - Sinningia index


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