Recent years have seen a great deal of upheaval in the naming conventions for the Gesneriaceae! The advent of tools allowing for DNA analysis and molecular systematics has led to much deeper insight into the relationships among and evolutionary history of gesneriad species, and the new understanding has required a lot of tweaking of the naming strucures for the family.
Substantial changes have occurred in understanding of the African species (with Saintpaulia subsumed within Streptocarpus), of many Asian species once understood as belonging to Chirita (with that name disappearing, and the species assigned to a variety of other genera) and of the neotropical (American) species. The African and Chirita situations are reported in articles elsewhere on this site: Saintpaulia, The African Violet by Jeff Smith, and Dismembering Chirita, by David Middleton.
The high-level structure of the Gesneriaceae has also been subject to revision, based on the new information. Three subfamilies are now recognized, with Sanangoidea created to accomodate the single genus Sanango. The analysis reported in our article Gesneriaceae: A Scientific Perspective by Anton Weber has also led to restructuring within the other two subfamilies, the Gesnerioidea (largely American) and the Didymocarpoidea (largely Asian and African). The complete fascinating details are contained in Dr. Weber’s article.
Within the subfamily Gesnerioidea, the bulk of the species of current horticultural interest are contained within the tribe Gesnerieae and its five sub-tribes. Widely grown genera include Sinningia, Columnea, Episcia, Alsobia, Nematanthus and many others. The subtribe Gloxiniinae, which we are addressing here, includes all of the species with scaly rhizomes (and some without), and is distributed from Mexico south through Central America and into northern South America, with some outlier species further south.
Within Gloxiniinae there has been some very substantial re-working of genera, with new genera created and the transfer of many species out of their historical places and into other new or existing genera. The new taxonomy of the Gloxiniinae has brought order out of what was significant chaos, and led to new and deeper insight into the relationships within this fascinating group of plants.
The annotated list contained on the following page includes all genera within the Gloxiniinae. Each is treated in more detail on individual genus pages, some with a great many illustrations of species and cultivars.