The Gesneriad Reference Web is the most comprehensive assembly of information on the Gesneriaceae, anywhere. There is a great deal of content in different forms, and this could end up making it difficult to find what you’re looking for. We’ve tried to make it easy.
There are four main site components, each serving a different function and each accessible directly from the menu bar at the top of every page, as well as a search function making access even easier:
- The Genus Pages, accessible from the Genera link
- Articles, which provide comprehensive information on particular topics
- Antique Prints, an archive of 200-year-old artwork illustrating the family
- The Library, a compendium of almost 1000 botanical publications on the family
- Search and Advanced Search bring all of this information readily to your screen
When you click on “Genera” you will be taken to a page with a listing of all the Gesneriad Genera available on the site. Each genus is accompanied by a representative thumbnail so you can have some idea of what is behind the button. Click on the thumbnail for a genus and you will be taken to a brief description of the genus, and an invitation to proceed to view images. There will always be a link to “Species”, which are the varieties of plants that grow wild in nature. There may also be a link to “Hybrids”, which are man-made varieties created by crossing different species or forms of species. Sometimes it’s possible to make crosses between different genera, and if this has happened there will also be a link for “Intergenerics”.
When you navigate to one of these sections, you will be presented with another set of thumbnail images, one for each of the associated Plant Pages. Clicking on a thumbnail will take you to that Plant Page, where there will be a large picture of the subject, and usually some narrative text discussing the plant. Within this text there may be other links that will result in display of other photos of the subject, or take you to another page. At the bottom of the page is a “Back to Genus” link, that will take you back to the main genus page for the current Plant Page; you can also click your browser’s back button to go to the last page you visited.
The site contains an always-growing set of articles on individual genera or groups of genera, or on other topics. These provide detailed information on the specific topic, often spanning many illustrated pages. The Articles are a resource for all of professionals seeking information outside of their main area of expertise, enthusiasts seeking to expand their knowledge and beginners eager to find out more about these fascinating plants. Articles will sometimes contain links to other pages within the site and to external resources.
Gesneriads have been the subject of skilled botanical artists since the late 18th Century, with a huge number of beautiful prints created for botanical publications from the late 18th through the 19th Century. We’ve collected many of these, scanned them, and posted them on the site for your review and appreciation. Feel free to share and use these images (long out of copyright), and if you need higher resolution, we’ll try to help. The downloads available directly from the site are of a size to allow professional-quality printing at the size of the original published image.
The basic search function, available by typing in a search term in the box at the top of every page, allows quick access to specific plants or most information.
Advanced Search, accessed by clicking the link just below the basic search box, allows much more powerful and comprehensive identification of particular kinds of content. Advanced Search allows you to choose which areas you want to search simply by ticking boxes, and when necessary to use complex logic in search terms to narrow what you are looking for. It has access to more search fields than basic search.
A recent addition available from Advanced Search is the capacity to search by tags. A tag is a term that we attach to a particular item within the genera and plant sections of the site. For instance, we have many photographs of outstandingly beautiful plants from flower shows held by the Gesneriad Society. We have tagged these images going back many years, allowing flower show plants from each year to be easily found. These tags are all in the form of “GS2020”, with other content going back to “GS2006” and earlier. Conduct a tag search on GS2020 and you will get almost 200 images of plants entered in the 2020 virtual show of the Gesneriad Society.
At the moment, these flower show tags are all that are available with one exception. The last few years have seen an unprecedented volume of new introductions and species descriptions from China and other parts of Asia. It’s very exciting, and we have begun to identify these new plants with the tag “China”. As new tags are developed and implemented, these will be documented here and elsewhere on the site
There are a number of other site features and content:
- On many plant pages, and in some articles, you will find that hovering your cursor over a main image will result in magnification of the image. You can move your cursor to see different parts of the picture, or click once to make the image full screen (vertically). Click again and you will see the full-size image in a larger window than on the page, and can use the cursor to move around. This allows you to examine detail in the photograph that may not be readily visible at the normal display size. Note that not all images have a large “background” image available for zooming. The wonderful image zoom tool on this site is created and supplied by Magic Zoom.
- Information on other Resources is available from the link on the top menu bar
- Contact the overall site editors through the form available from the Contact Us link in the menu bar, or contact individual genus editors from the links available from every genus page