Sinningia piresiana

  1. Growth pattern
  2. Seasonal behavior
  3. Hybridization
  4. Feature table
  5. Publication and etymology

Sinningia piresiana has attractive fuzzy leaves and purple-streaked flowers of the douglasii type.

My first plant was grown from seed provided by Tsuh Yang Chen.

Sinningia piresiana is one of the species which forms a tuber very soon after germination, while the plant is still tiny.  For two pictures and some discussion, click here.

Growth Pattern

A mature plant of S. piresiana will usually have two whorls of three leaves each, as shown in this picture.  In that regard, it is similar to S. douglasii.  Flowerbuds can be seen at the center of the plant.  This is characteristic of this species, that the flowerbuds are formed very early in the development of new shoots in the spring.

Seasonal behavior

Under my conditions, Sinningia piresiana comes out of dormancy rather later than most other species, from mid-April to the beginning of May.  Even small tubers have this pattern, and it seems to be inherited by at least some of my S. piresiana hybrids as well.

With some sinningia species of determinate growth, such as S. leucotricha and S. lineata, a second bloom period per year can be achieved by cutting off the blooming stem as soon as the last flower has fallen.  I have tried this with S. piresiana, and gotten new stems, but they did not bloom.  So far, one flowering per year appears to be the maximum.


I have crossed this species with S. 'Peninsula Belle' to get some nice plants.  These hybrids have indeterminate growth, which means they can continue producing flowers over an extended period.  From S. piresiana, they inherited the streaks on the outside of the flower, which is one of the most attractive features of this species.

Jon Lindstrom of the University of Arkansas crossed S. piresiana with S. leucotricha and S. insularis (both determinate growers, like S. piresiana itself).  The resulting hybrids have the same determinate pattern as their parents, but also S. piresiana's external streaks on the corolla, showing that these markings are dominant.

Daniel Steele of Ohio crossed S. piresiana with S. cardinalis and S. aggregata.

This is Sinningia cardinalis x piresiana. The corolla is more piresiana-purple than cardinalis red. Plant and pictures by Daniel Steele.

This is Sinningia aggregata x piresiana. Plant habit and corolla shape resemble aggregata more than piresiana. Plant and pictures by Daniel Steele.

Feature table for Sinningia piresiana

Plant Description

Growth Determinate
Habit Two whorls of three leaves each, with an almost nonexistent internode between them so that they appear to be a single whorl of six leaves.
Leaves Green. Fuzzy.
Dormancy Stem completely deciduous.  Dormancy is obligate and lasts for several months.


Inflorescence Flowers in axils of second whorl of three (a terminal cluster).
Season Blooms in summer.
Flower Tubular, coral red with purple streaks on outside of corolla and on faces of corolla lobes.

Horticultural aspects

Diagnostic features Leaves sessile, hairy, six, in two whorls (see above, under Leaves).  Flowers spotted on inside and outside of corolla (see above, under Flower).  Leaf hairiness and the lack of any red in stems and leaf midribs distinguish it from S. douglasii.
From seed Three years to bloom, under my conditions.
Hardiness Has survived 30 F [-1 C] in my back yard.
Recommended? Yes.  It's a good compact plant, and a good hybridizing parent.


Hybrids with this species See listing and crossing table.


Taxonomic group The douglasii group of the Dircaea clade.
Nectaries Two, separate, dorsal


As Rechsteineria piresiana by Hoehne, in 1958.
As Sinningia piresiana by Chautems, in 1990.