Authors: Eastwood, A.; Bytebier, B.; Tye, H.; Tye, A.; Robertson, A.; Maunder, M.
Publication: Curtis's Botanical Magazine
Year: 1998
Genera: Saintpaulia

This paper is a preliminary assessment of the conservation status of Saintpaulia H. Wendl. in both the wild and in cultivation. The genus Saintpaulia has been promoted as a botanical ‘panda’ symbolizing the decline of the tropical moist forests, particularly the Eastern Arc mountains of East Africa. In spite of this and it’s familiarity through usage as a house plant there has been no recent review of the conservation needs of the genus. This paper represents an initial attempt to review the status of the genus and makes general recommendations on future conservation activities. The authors have collated and reviewed all the available current information on the genus Saintpaulia from literature, botanic garden databases, and the authors’ own field experience. Using the above information they have assigned an IUCN Category of Threat (IUCN, 1994) to each Saintpaulia species. This initial study highlights the current threats to saintpaulias in the wild, addresses some of the taxonomic problems that are in need of further research and makes recommendations for their conservation. The authors hope that the article will instigate further research, and promote collaboration between conservation organizations, governments and the horticultural industry.