Sinningia tuberosa

This species can have one to many leaves.  The flowerstalks come directly from the tuber, a property it shares with other sinningias such as S. defoliata, but it is not closely related to them.  It is not an easy species to grow but worth the effort.

  1. Blooming from the tuber
  2. Plant habits
  3. Tuber
  4. Flower
  5. Dried leaf
  6. This species with other unifoliate sinningias (on a different page)
  7. Feature table
  8. External link
  9. Publication and etymology

This picture was taken by Dave Zaitlin, of his own plant.


Blooming from the tuber

This informative picture, taken by Karyn Cichocki, of her own plant, shows the flowerstalks and petioles growing directly from the tuber.

One might expect that this species would be closely related to another sinningia species which blooms directly from the tuber, namely Sinningia defoliata.  Such is not the case, however, as they are in different clades.  S. tuberosa is in the Sinningia clade, grouped around S. speciosa, while S. defoliata is in the Corytholoma clade, a group of mostly tall and/or sticky-leaved species.


Plant Habits

tuberosa: leaf

The plant in this picture looks like it could be Sinningia defoliata -- but it isn't.  For one thing, the leaf is not sticky like defoliata's.  The second difference can be seen in the picture below, which shows the base and tuber top of the plant in the picture to the left. Clearly visible is the ordinary-looking stem and its side shoot.

tuberosa: base

There is one way in which this species differs from the other "unifoliate" sinningias, including S. defoliata, S. helioana, and S. stapelioides.  The seedlings of those three species look very different from the mature plant and show no signs of "unifoliate" behavior.  S. tuberosa has its characteristic growth pattern from the beginning, with unifoliate stems arising directly from the tuber.

tuberosa: leaf

This plant looks more like a regular sinningia, with multiple leaves. However, the leaves are attached directly to the tuber, through petiole-like stems.

tuberosa: plant

This plant looks more like a regular sinningia, but with much smaller leaves than the one above.



This plant of Sinningia tuberosa has a multiply branched tuber.



FIrst bloom (July 2017) on plant from seed sown in 2011.

This shows the developing inflorescence, about a month before the flower picture.  It needed a little human assistance to avoid getting stuck on the underside of the leaf.


This shows the developing inflorescence of Sinningia tuberosa in July 2019.

It's clear that the flowerbuds toward the base of the inflorescence are developing first.  That makes this inflorescence a raceme, like that of Sinningia defoliata, but unlike the standard gesneriad cyme.


Dead Leaf

Sinningia tuberosa apparently belongs to the (non-taxonomic) group of sinningias with self-drying leaves.  Like S. defoliata and S. stapelioides, this species can discard leaves which dry but do not shrivel or disintegrate.

This picture shows the leaf of the plant which bloomed in July 2017 above.  The picture was taken at the end of September 2017.

The point of attachment of the stem to the underside of the leaf is clearly shown.

See here for another picture, along with dried leaves of some other species.

Feature table for Sinningia tuberosa

Plant Description

Growth No stem
Habit Rosette-like
Leaves Petiole from tuber (judging by Sinningia defoliata and Sinningia helioana, which also have leaves which appear to grow directly from the tuber but which actually have petiole-like stems, the leaves of S. tuberosa probably are borne on very short petiole-like stems).


Inflorescence Flowers from tuber
Season Summer
Flower Red, tubular.  Interior of corolla tube is yellow-white.

Horticultural aspects

Hardiness An outdoor plant survived the winter of 2018-2019 without even defoliating.  Temperatures got down to 28 F [-2 C]. Plant began new growth in late March 2019.


Taxonomic group By itself in the Sinningia clade.

External Link

See Mauro Peixoto's Brazilian Plants site for a page about S. tuberosa.


As Gesnera tuberosa by Martius, in 1829.
As Sinningia tuberosa by H.E. Moore, in 1973.

Etymology: From Latin tuber ("swelling").