gesneria

gesneria

gesneria, common name for some members of the Gesneriaceae, a family of chiefly tropical and subtropical perennial herbs and shrubs with showy blossoms. The best-known members of the family are the African violets (most of which are hybrids of Saintpaulia ionantha), cultivated for their blossoms and for the purplish leaves often characteristic of this family. Other cultivated ornamentals include the African Cape primrose (genus Streptocarpus) and several rock garden and pot plants, e.g., Ramonda and Haberlea of Europe, and gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa) of Brazil—not to be confused with species of the genus Gloxinia, which are not cultivated. The Gesneria genus is native to tropical America and the West Indies. Gesneria is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Scrophulariales, family Gesneriaceae.

Gesneria is a genus of approximately 50 species in the flowering plant family Gesneriaceae. Except for two or three odd South American species, all are native to islands of the Caribbean. The genus is classified in the tribe Gesnerieae along with the genera Bellonia, Pheidonocarpa, and Rhytidophyllum. Gesneria species are usually woody shrubs or subshrubs, and (with the closely related Rhytidophyllum) are unusual in the family in having alternately (rather than decussately) arranged leaves. A complete list of the accepted species and their synonyms can be found in the Smithsonian Institution's World Checklist of Gesneriaceae.

The genus name honors Conrad Gessner.Selected species

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