Columnea

Columnea

[kuh-luhm-nee-uh]

Columnea is a genus of ca. 200 species of epiphytic herbs and shrubs in the flowering plant family Gesneriaceae, native to tropical America and the Caribbean. A common name is Flying Goldfish Plant (see also Nematanthus). The tubular or oddly shaped flowers are usually large and brightly colored, sometimes giving the impression of flying fish. Flowers are usually red, yellow, or orange.

The segregate genus Bucinellina is considered by many botanists synonym of Columnea. A full list of the species now accepted in the genus, along with their synonyms, can be found at the World Checklist of Gesneriaceae.

Selected species

Cultivation

Columneas grow as epiphytic plants in the wild and require bright light, good air circulation, and a well-drained growing medium that is allowed to dry out slightly between waterings. They are very tolerant of underpotting and seem to bloom best when potbound. Most are tropical plants and are easy to grow under indoor or greenhouse conditions but some species come from high altitudes and require cooler temperatures to grow well or bloom. Many of the species are seasonal bloomers but hybrids and cultivars can be more or less everblooming.

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