The gloxinia can be found in many gardens nowadays, embellishing them with its colorfulness. Nevertheless, it is still one of the more unusual flowers, which is why most people still do not know very much about it. To change that, this article contains the most important information.
First of all, the name gloxinia or garden gloxinia is a colloquial name and does not exist in botany. Instead, the named plant is a member of the genus Gesneriaceae. It can be found under the name Sinningia.
Sinningia is a plant that grows mostly quite herbaceous or in semi-shrubs on rocky ground. There it keeps itself with bulbous root strands that can reach a diameter of up to 40 centimeters. From there it grows upward with several unbranched stems that can grow from one centimeter to one and a half meters tall.
The leaves, which usually grow in groups, have a very uneven surface and an elliptical to elongated shape. They grow up to 6 centimeters long, are densely hairy and have a notched or serrated edge.
The flowers of the gloxinia are either in groups of up to ten or singly on the sides and ends of the stems. They usually stand out horizontally and are covered with a felt-like down. Their stalk is maximum 15 centimeters long, but sometimes it is absent.
The shape of the flower itself resembles a funnel or a bell; inside it are the reproductive parts. It grows from two to six centimeters long. The colors range from orange and red, to pink and white.
Seeds are formed inside the flowers, where they grow and mature. These are dry, fleshy capsule fruits that are elliptical in shape and have two opening valves. The seed is light brown and longitudinally striped when mature.
Gloxinia is most common in the Neotropics (i.e., the Indian region) and in the Andes of South America because it appreciates the poor, stony soil with an elevated site. However, some species have been able to establish themselves in Central America as a result of its distribution.
Nowadays, however, it can be found in all parts of the world, where it is cultivated by botanists, but also by enthusiastic gardeners.
In its use, unfortunately, the Sinningia is not too versatile. Since it neither tastes good nor can help to cure or alleviate diseases, it is still used only as an ornamental plant.
This plant was first introduced as a genus of its own in 1825 by Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck in his “Annales de sciences naturelles”. Its name is intended to honor the head gardener of the botanical garden in Bonn, Wilhelm Sinning.