This species is remarkable for the thick white wool on the back of new leaves and on the tips of new shoots, as well as for its “bullate” (bumpy or pebbly) leaves and its beautifully contrasting red flowers. It has begun to be widely used in hybridization, and has even been crossed with micro-miniature species.
It hails from southern Brazil, and was collected on the island of Florianopolis. Its typical habitat is rocky steep cliffs, where it will trail tubers on “stolons” down the slope.
A second collection of the species has recently been made, further south in Brazil, and at higher altitude. This collection is named after the collection location, Fortaleza Canyon, hence S. bullata Cânion de Fortaleza (the proper Portuguese spelling). In its natural habitat, it is subject to more sun and wind, and cooler temperatures. It apparently has a more compact form, without quite as much fuzziness as the collection from Florianopolis.
Other photos which can be seen in a slideshow include the following. Click any of them to initiate the slideshow.
- A beautifully grown plant exhibited at the 2015 convention of the Gesneriad Society, illustrating tuber, stems, foliage and flowers
- Another show plant exhibited at the 2009 convention of the Gesneriad Society
- Another show plant, without flowers, exhibited at the 2016 convention of the Gesneriad Society
- A plant exhibiting the interesting above-ground tuber, exhibited in the 2020 virtual show of the Gesneriad Society
- A close-up of the new foliage with dense white hairs on the stems
- A small plant growing on the living wall at The Amazon Spheres, in Seattle, WA
- A plant in nature, illustrating the cascading tubers on stolon-like growths
- A small young plant of S. bullata Cânion de Fortaleza
- Another small plant of the S. b. Canion de Fortaleza exhibited at the 2023 convention show of the Gesneriad Society
- The indumentum (fuzzy leaf backs) and flowers of the 2023 specimen