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Terrestrial, caulescent, decumbent to erect herbs, with scaly rhizomes. Stems seldom branched. Leaves opposite, subequal to equal in a pair, venation pinnate, foliar nectaries absent. Flowers axillary, 1 to several in fascicles; epedunculate; bracteoles absent (in Guianan species); pedicellate. Calyx lobes nearly free; corolla white, blue, lavender, purple, rose-pink, scarlet to orange or yellow, often with darker spots, tubular, cylindric to campanulate; stamens included, filaments not connate, anthers coherent by their apices, dehiscing by longitudinal slits, thecae parallel or divergent at base; staminode present; disc absent, or when present, annular, entire or 5-lobed; ovary inferior, stigma stomatomorphic or 2-lobed. Fruit a dry, brown capsule, loculicidally dehiscent, 2-valved, valves opening slightly.


Argentina present, Guianas present present, Southern America: Bolivia (Bolivia present); Panamá (Panamá present), Trinidad present, rainforests of C and S America present
About 10 species distributed in the rainforests of C and S America, from Panama to Bolivia and Argentina, and to the Guianas and Trinidad; 2 species in the Guianas.


Chromosome number n=13 (Skog 1984).


In tropical regions, some species in cultivation as ornamentals occasionally escape and may become weedy.
The plants in cultivation as the 'Florist's Gloxinia' are cultivars of Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern.