Sinningia magnifica

  1. Feature table
  2. Publication and etymology

I wrote this around 2006:

First: about the name.  The name "magnifica" is trying too hard.  This plant takes too long to bloom from seed, and it flowers late in the fall when you've lost interest.  Moreover, given the name, the flowers are underwhelming, and so is the foliage.  If you've seen S. cardinalis, you don't need S. magnifica.

Because of its grandiose name, I have taken to calling it Sinningia pathetica, under which name it also appears in my index.  In nature, it is alleged to make an impressive display when it is in bloom.

Then Jim Roberts sent this picture to Gesneriphiles, in February 2009, of a plant growing in São Paulo state in Brazil, at a location over a mile high (near Pico do Itapeva, supposed to be one of the highest points in Brazil).  Looks pretty good on location, doesn't it?

magnifica in habitat

Here is a closer shot of one inflorescence.

Maybe my plants are suffering from brazilium deficiency.

My shabby plant can be seen below.  There are also pictures of the tuber on a different page.

Sinningia magnifica, like its stablemate S. cardinalis, is a member of the Galea Group.

The pictures clearly show that Sinningia magnifica blooms on an extended axis.  The hairy red stalks and peduncles contribute to a fine display.

magnifica in habitat

Feature table for Sinningia magnifica

Plant Description

Growth Indeterminate
Habit Stems upright, leaves opposite, decussate
Leaves Green
Dormancy Stems fully deciduous, with visible scar remaining on tuber.  Dormancy appears to be obligate, but because this species blooms so late in the year, it retains its leaves through much of the winter.


Inflorescence extended axis
Season Blooms in autumn
Flower Orange-red, tubular, with galea

Horticultural aspects

From seed 30 months to bloom, under my conditions
Hardiness Has survived 30F (-1C) in my yard
Recommended? No.  Despite its attractive flowers in habitat, this plant is not a good candidate for cultivation, particularly because it blooms so late in the year.  Grow S. cardinalis instead.  (S. magnifica might be suitable for a large greenhouse.)


Taxonomic group The galea group of the Dircaea clade.



Sinningia magnifica was first described by Christoph Friedrich Otto (1783-1856) and Friedrich Gottlieb Dietrich (1768-1850) in 1833, under the name Gesnera magnifica.  The species was transferred to Rechsteineria by Kuntze in 1891, to Corytholoma by Fritsch in 1894, and finally to Sinningia by Hans Wiehler in 1975.

Etymology: Latin magnifica ("grand, splendid"), from magni- ("large") + -fic-, from the verb facere ("to make").

Sinningia magnifica