Terrestrial or epipetric, rarely epiphytic caulescent decumbent to erect herbs or subshrubs, tuberous. Stems branched or unbranched. Leaves opposite or in whorls, or congested on short stems, nearly equal in a pair or whorl, venation pinnate, foliar nectaries absent. Flowers axillary, umbellate, cymose, paniculate, or appearing terminal, 1 to many in racemes; usually epedunculate (in Guianan species); bracteoles present; pedicellate. Calyx lobes connate at base; corolla usually red or orange, rarely yellow, purplish or white, campanulate tocylindric; stamens exserted, filaments not connate, anthers coherent, dehiscing by longitudinal slits, thecae parallel to divergent; staminode small; disc of 1-5 glands, sometimes with 2 larger and connate; ovary half-inferior to almost superior, stigma stomatomorphic to capitate. Fruit a dry, brown, loculicidally dehiscent, 2-valved capsule, valves opening slightly.
Guianas present, Northern America, Southern America: Bolivia (Bolivia present); Uruguay (Uruguay present), Vera Cruz present, northern Argentina present
A wide-ranging genus of about 60-65 species from Vera Cruz in Mexico south to northern Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and with many species in Brazil; 2 species occur in the Guianas, including the widespread
The best-known species in the genus is
Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern and its cultivars, known as the 'Florist's Gloxinia'. In the Gesneriaceae this species is second only to the 'African Violet' ( Saintpaulia spp.) in popularity for growing as pot plants, and has been in cultivation since 1817.