Paliavana prasinata

  1. Saying bad things about this species
  2. Bats?!?
  3. Dave Zaitlin's plant
  4. Hybridization
  5. Feature table
  6. External link
  7. Publication
  8. Etymology

Calumny, slander, and disrespect

Normally, I hate it when one of my sinningia-alliance plants dies.  I made an exception for Paliavana prasinata.

I had a P. prasinata plant for many years and it never bloomed.  It took up a lot of space, and required a lot of water even though it was in a big pot.  It would usually drop all its leaves every winter.  Finally, one winter, it expired altogether.

I don't miss it.

If you have to grow one Paliavana, choose P. gracilis.

Photo by Jon Lindstrom of his plant

My Philosophy about Plants Which Die in my Care

I grow them in somebody else's house.  Or greenhouse.  Or under somebody else's lights, in their painstakingly prepared potting mix.

In the case of Paliavana prasinata, I grew it in Jon Lindstrom's greenhouse at the University of Arkansas.  The first two pictures on this page are his pictures of the plant he was growing for me.  He did a fantastic job, don't you think.


This picture shows the flowers.  Greenish, campanulate, speckled on the outside, and with the corolla lobes curled back as reinforcement, the flowers are most probably pollinated by bats.

Bats have been recognized as flower pollinators since at least the beginning of the twentieth century.  (See a discussion in Proctor, Yeo, and Lack, pp. 244-255.) Since bats are nocturnal and larger than insect or hummingbird pollinators, bat flowers tend to be white or greenish (more visible at night), larger and sturdier than other flowers, and with wider openings.

Among the gesneriads pollinated by bats are Kohleria allenii and what used to be called Capanea grandiflora but is now Kohleria tigridia.

The picture shows some green globular objects which might be slightly ambiguous.  Are they flowerbuds or unripe fruits?

The answer lies in the five-pointed star design on the front of the objects.  If these were fruits, they would each have a verticle seam dividing the fruit into two halves.  The five-part division shows that these are calyxes, with five valvate calyx lobes.  The calyx completely encloses the developing flowerbud, which both protects the bud and prevents premature pollinator visits.

I have to admit the flowers are slightly cool, but the plant?  Best in somebody else's yard!


Dave Zaitlin's Plant

Dave exhibited a large plant of this species at the 2019 Gesneriad Society convention in Cincinnati.  Even without flowers, it was dramatic.



This photograph, sent to me by Alain Chautems and taken by Ludovic Kollman, shows a plant believed to be a natural hybrid between Vanhouttea calcarata and Paliavana prasinata.  It was found in the wild in Espírito Santo state (Brazil) by Ludovic Kollmann, who confirmed that the supposed parents Paliavana prasinata and Vanhouttea calcarata were growing nearby.

I have to say this hybrid looks more attractive than either parent.

Feature table for Paliavana prasinata

Plant Description

Growth Indeterminate
Habit Erect stem with few branches
Leaves Green
Dormancy Leaves deciduous in cold weather


Flowering season None
Flower campanulate

Horticultural aspects

Hardiness It survived 32F (0C) in my yard. For a while.
Recommended? No.  Mine never bloomed.


Taxonomic group In a paliavana subgroup of the Sinningia clade.
Pollinator Bats

External Link

For some habitat pictures and information, see the page on Mauro Peixoto's web site.


  • As Gesneria prasinata John Ker-Gawler, in 1820.
  • As Paliavana prasinata by George Bentham, in 1876.


Latin prasinata, from prasina ("green").  For you fans of classical history and/or equestrian sports, factio prasina ("the Greens") was one of the two horse-racing factions in the Roman and Byzantine Empires.