Sinningia conspicua

This species is notable for the lemony fragrance of its flowers, which most people find pleasant.

  1. Drought tolerance
  2. Going dormant
  3. Hybridization
  4. Feature table
  5. Publication and etymology

Sinningia conspicua has pale cream or yellowish flowers with a yellow stripe down the center of the tube.  There are usually purple markings in the yellow stripe.


Drought tolerance

Sinningia conspicua is not very happy when the soil dries out.  As with some other species, most notably S. warmingii, the first symptom is leaf curl.

After being watered, the plant recovers in a day or so.


Going Dormant

In my yard, this species is one of the first sinningias to go dormant in the autumn.

You won't see this kind of picture on other web sites.



I have crossed this species with S. 'Peninsula Belle', and the resulting hybrid plants usually have flowers with a detectable but diminished conspicua aroma.  The flower color (lavender with lavender streaks in a yellow throat) I find unappealing, but others have been less negative about it.

One very positive trait that S. conspicua gave to its progeny in this cross is speed to bloom. S. 'Peninsula Belle' x conspicua plants bloomed much faster from seed than did S. 'Peninsula Belle' x self (the slowness of the latter apparently being a legacy of S. lineata).  This trait, which it shares with its close relative Sinningia eumorpha, makes this species a very useful starting point for a hybridization project.

There is a side view of one of the conspicua hybrid flowers on the Peninsula Belle flower comparison page.

Others, including Ruth Coulson, Jon Lindstrom, Peter Shalit, Jim Steuerlein, and Dan Tomso, have used this species for hybridizing.  It bequeaths to its offspring many of the same good qualities that Sinningia eumorpha imparts, with the additional possibility of fragrance.  See the Dircaea-clade crossing table for more references.

Jim Steuerlein crossed this species with S. polyantha.

  Sinningia conspicua
Plant Description

Growth Indeterminate
Habit Stem(s) upright
Leaves Green
Dormancy Stems fully deciduous.  Dormancy appears to be obligate.


Season Blooms in summer
Inflorescence Axillary cyme, usually one flower, but sometimes two
Flower Cream, campanulate, usually one per axil.  See a comparison with other sinningia flowers.
Calyx When flower is open, calyx is flat 5-pointed star, not clasping base of corolla.  Corolla is more or less at right angles to calyx and pedicel.

Horticultural aspects

Hardiness Has survived to 30F (-1C) in my yard
Propagation Because this species has an indeterminate habit, it makes many nodes on a stem. This means it can be propagated easily from cuttings. Also, the tuber sometimes makes satellite tubers, which can be separated and which will usually create new plants.
Drought tolerance Leaves curl when dry; see picture
Recommended? Yes.  It does not have a large number of flowers at a time, but they are attractive -- and fragrant!  Also: easy to grow.


Hybrids with this species See listing.


Taxonomic group The eumorpha group of the Dircaea clade.


As Biglandularia conspicua, by Berthold Carl Seemann (1825-1871).  Mr. Seemann is likely to be the one the genus Seemannia is named after.  "Biglandularia" probably means bi-gland and not big-land.

Nichols transferred it to Sinningia in 1887, and there it has stayed.

Etymology: Latin conspicua ("conspicuous"), from spec- ("see").