P. tabacum is modest plant with small but attractive flowers, often exhibiting a purplish blue and white pinwheel effect. In most of the material in cultivation the foliage gives off the distinct odor of cured tobacco when crushed or rubbed, although not all clones of the species have this feature.
For many years, it was the sole member of the genus Primulina, until it became clear that there were many members of the genus Chirita that were closely related and belonged in the same genus as P. tabacum. Since publication priority went to the genus name Primulina, all these “Chiritas” became Primulinas, and P. tabacum was no longer lonely.
In addition to the variable scent of the leaves, different clones have somewhat different flower patterns or colors, and cultural variables may also affect flowers.
The plant above was exhibited at the Gesneriad Society’s 2018 convention show.
Additional photos may be seen in a slideshow by clicking one of the links below.
- A specimen exhibited at the 2023 convention show of the Gesneriad Society
- Close views of the flowers, exhibiting some variability, here, here and here