Sinningia flammea

This species was known under the holding name of S. sp. "Itaguassu". The flower color is unusual. It is not an easy plant for most people.

  1. Flower
  2. Habit
  3. My experience
  4. Source
  5. Seedlings
  6. Feature table
  7. External link
  8. Publication

This species, published in 2019, was collected in the eastern part of Espírito Santo state of Brazil, where it was found growing on inselbergs above 700 m [about 2300 feet] altitude near the municipality of Itaguaçu.

This new species is believed to be closely related to S. aghensis on several grounds, the most striking one being the tall peduncles (flowerstalks).



Like the two species mentioned above, Sinningia flammea is tall with flowers borne at the end of a long peduncle, but unlike them, it has a narrower corolla tube and the flower is not purple.  The corolla is orange-red on the lobes and lightly maroon on the outside, but greenish-yellow on the inside.

The interior colors are pastel, which is highly unusual in Sinningia.  It is not obvious what the pollinator is.

The inflorescence is the standard gesneriad pair-flowered cyme, with the flowers bunched at the end on short pedicels



The plant is tall but not as tall as S. aghensis.  The leaves are very dark, almost black, on top, and maroon underneath. Both sides of the leaf are intensely hairy.  The hairs dramatize the prominent veins on the reverse.

My experience

I sowed seed of this species in 2011 and it first bloomed in 2018.  No doubt my horticulture was partly to blame, but this plant (like its relatives Sinningia aghensis and Sinningia bragae) is probably just slow to bloom.


Pronunciation and Etymology

The species name flammea is Latin for "flaming, fiery" as well as, romantically, "flashing" (eyes). Its Latin pronunciation is stressed on the first syllable: FLAMM-e-a.

The holding name under which the species was originally known stems from the place name Itaguassu, which is an English-spelling rendering of the Brazilian placename Itaguaçu.

Based on the Brazilian Portuguese spelling, stress should fall on the final syllable: Ee-ta-gwa-SUE.  According to the Wikipedia entry cited at the top of the page, the name derives from the Tupí language: itá (rock) + guassú (big).



The seedlings bear a strong resemblance to those of S. aghensis.  Compare that picture to this one.

This picture was taken 16 March 2011.  Older seedlings are shown below.


A seedling of this species grows quite slowly at first.  This appears to be a result of the plant's putting most of its effort into growing its tuber.

This picture shows the intense red leafbacks of the seedling.  It also shows the tuber, which is quite large for the size of the plant.  My guess is that 90% of the mass of this plant is in the tuber.

The early growth of this species and the dark coloration on the upper leaf surface strongly resemble the corresponding characteristics of Sinningia aghensis.

Mauro's site describes the degree of difficulty of this plant as "medium".  Since this is the same degree of difficulty he assigns to the doomed Sinningia canastrensis, one fears the worst.


This picture was taken on 20 September 2011.  The plant is in a 3.5-inch pot.

The resemblance to Sinningia aghensis is very striking at this stage.

This picture shows a different seedling.  It was also taken on 20 September 2011.  The plant is in a 2.5-inch pot.

This plant has an elongated wiry stem which eventually bears large dark leaves.  At the time of the picture, leaf length was about 8 cm [3 inches].

Feature table for Sinningia flammea

Plant Description

Growth Indeterminate.
Habit When juvenile, low herb with compressed stems.  When older, tall plant with elongated stems.
Leaves Very dark green when young.  Backs maroon with heavily patterned venation when older.
Dormancy Plant has a tuber.


Inflorescence Tall axillary cyme.
Season Perhaps winter.
Flower Fairly open tube with flaring lobes.  The flower hangs downward at about a 45-degree angle.

Horticultural aspects

Hardiness I have no data yet.  If this species is truly close to S. aghensis and S. bragae, it is probably not tolerant of freezing temperatures.
Culture Appears to appreciate high humidity and/or abundant water.  Seedlings grow very slowly.


Taxonomic group In the aghensis group of the Corytholoma clade.

External link and Publication

Mauro Peixoto's Brazil Plants web site has a page on this plant (under the name "Itaguassu").


This species was published in 2019 by Chautems et al.