Economic Uses

The main economic use of Gesneriaceae in the Western World is for ornamentals. The most important genera are Saintpaulia, Streptocarpus, Aeschynanthus, Sinningia, Achimenes, Episcia, Columnea and Nematanthus. “African Violets” (species and hybrids of Saintpaulia) and “Florist’s Gloxinias” (Sinningia speciosa hybrids, often forms with abnormal, radially symmetrical flowers) are among the most popular indoor ornamentals in America and Europe. There exist probably more than 40,000 named cultivars of Saintpaulia, of which some 7,500 are registered by the African Violet Society of America.


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