The Gesneriaceae are a middle-sized family of angiosperms, comprising some 150 genera and roughly 3500 species, of mainly tropical and subtropical distribution. The majority of species are represented by perennial herbs, but the family also includes shrubs, small trees, a few annuals as well as epiphytes and climbers. The flowers are usually conspicuous, variable in shape and often very colorful. For this reason many species such as Florist Gloxinias (hybrids of the genus Sinningia) and the African violet (Saintpaulia: now included in Streptocarpus, Nishi et al. 2015) are cultivated as ornamentals. The family also has plants of significant scientific relevance, such as the single-leaved or “phyllomorphic” species of Streptocarpus and Monophyllaea. Some representatives are also of ethnobotanical interest.
This interesting plant family is reviewed in some detail in this article. The article is organized systematically for ease of reference, including sections specific to particular topics.
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