Online “generic” photo of gesneriads

Our speaker, Bill Price, certainly proved to us that Gesneriads are an intriguing and diverse group of plants. There are over 3000 species, 150 genera, and they are found everywhere except Antarctica! They can be found in moist to fairly dry soil conditions. The majority however, are found in tropical and sub-tropical climates.

African violets, Streptocarpus, and Sinningia (previously known as Gloxinias) are the best known, but Bill Price’s photos from his own collection proved to us that there are so very many other exciting genera in this group.  You can view some wonderful photos of various species at the Gesneriad website.  The Gesneriad website states that there are 5 groups of Gesneriads: Corytholoma, Dircaea, Sinningia, Thamnoligeria, and Vanhouttea.

African violets (previously known as Saintpaulia) are actually a subspecies of Streptocarpus. These all originate in South Africa. Streptocarpus, sometimes known as the “African Primrose” is not actually part of the Primulaceae family. I was surprised to read that the Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus sp.) is also a Gesneriad.

Although Gesneriads are popular as indoor plants, many species can be grown outside in our climate.  Hummingbirds are particularly fond of them! Gesneriaceae can also be epiphytic (grow on trees) or lithophytic (grow on rocks.

Bill discussed some of his tips on growing the easier types of Gesneriads.

Although the presentation topic was “Gesneriads”, Bill also has a large collection of Begonias. A big thanks to him for bringing a table full of named Begonia leaves for us to purchase and grow ourselves! He told us that these leaves would reproduce into little plantlets!  What a bonus to his talk!  (Maybe we should invite him back to talk about Begonias next!)

For the full article on “Bill Price – Growing Gesneriads”, please check your Eardrop newsletter. What a great reason to join the BCFB Society and have access to our publications!

Bill Price (speaker bio. by Melanie G.)

Bill Price has grown African Violets and the “other” Gesneriads for over 50 years.  He is a Senior Judge and Judging School Teacher, at both the Gesneriad Society and the African Violet Society of America.  He is past president of the African Violet Society of Canada.  He has won many Best in Show awards, and has given many International talks on Gesneriads.