What is a gesneriad?

(pronounced either "guess-NARE-ee-ad" or "jez-NARE-ee-ad")

The gesneriad family contains over 2,500 species of plants. Perhaps the best-known member of the gesneriad family is the African Violet. 

Most gesneriads are from tropical and subtropical regions and are often found growing in humus-filled depressions or rock crevices, on humus-covered forest floors or epiphytically on tree branches. There is a wide variety of plant sizes, shapes, flowers and colors. This is a plant family of great diversity, and many grow under the same conditions we enjoy.

Some gesneriads have been hybridized extensively, resulting in hundreds of cultivars that can be quite different from the species. In addition to the African Violet, some of the more common gesneriads grown by hobbyists are the Florist Gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa), Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus), Goldfish Plant (Nematanthus), Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus), Flame Violet (Episcia), and Cupid's Bower (Achimenes). 

Gesneriads provide you with blooming plants of one variety or another throughout the year, an especially welcome sight on a cold winter day. 

Many of the easiest and most beautiful plants for the home or greenhouse belong to the gesneriad family.

(Above information provided courtesy of the Gesneriad Society)

Our club

Our club is a varied group of people who have an interest in propagating, growing, showing, and hybridizing plants in the Gesneriad family. We help each other learn about the plants in a low key environment. We meet on the third Tuesday evening of the month at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis.