Sinningia  sp. "Santa Teresa"

 

Photos:  Flowers, Karyn Cichocki; seed pods, Karyn Cichocki; leaves/tuber, Alain Chautems; in nature, Mauro Peixoto
Grown by Karyn Cichocki (flowers and pods) and Geneva Botanical Garden (leaves)

This as-yet unnamed species was recently collected near the town of Santa Teresa in Brazil.  The plants were growing from mossy cracks in a large boulder, not far from a waterfall.  As can be seen from the photo taken in nature, the leaves hang down in a fashion reminiscent of several other unrelated species, such as Streptocarpus haygarthii in South Africa.

S. sp. "Santa Teresa" flowers directly from the tuber in the absence of leaves, as do two other species, S. defoliata and S. tuberosa.  However, recent research reported by Dr. Alain Chautems of the Geneva Botanical Garden shows that the three species are not at all closely related.  S. sp. 'Santa Teresa' is in a group with S. aghensis and the miniature species S. pusilla, S. concinna and S. sp. "Rio das Pedras".   S. defoliata appears closely related to S. incarnata, S. elatior and S. sceptrum, while S. tuberosa is closer to S. speciosa, S. guttata and some Paliavana species.

As can be seen from the photo of tubers and leaves in a pot, what emerges from the tuber is is not a petiole (leaf stalk) but a true stem;  each of the stems produces two leaves, one of which is greatly reduced and generally becomes deciduous.  The photo shows one intact leaf pair, as well as a number of leaves where the smaller leaf is absent.

As can be seen clearly from the photo of the seed pods, the inflorescence (flowering structure) follows the classic pattern in the Gesneriaceae of a pair-flowered cyme (see "Gesneriaceae:  A Scientific Perspective" in the menu on the home page -- navigate to "Inflorescence Structure").

 

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