Gesneriads (pronounced “guess-NARE-ee-ads”) are mainly tropical plants that range in size from smaller than a golf ball to shrubs and even trees taller than a single-story house. There are over 3000 species of gesneriads found throughout the world’s tropical forests. Commonly known gesneriads include African violets (Saintpaulia), lipstick plants (Aeschynanthus), Cape primroses (Streptocarpus), flame violets (Episcia), flying fish (Columnea), and florist gloxinias (Sinningia). Gesneriads are often quite striking with a wide range of foliage, flower, and fruit types. Formally recognized as the plant family Gesneriaceae in 1816, gesneriads have captured the attention of botanists, explorers, and plant enthusiasts for centuries. The fact that many gesneriads have showy flowers, fuzzy or patterned leaves, and thrive at room temperatures have made many species of the family popular as houseplants. There are many more attractive gesneriads yet to find their way into cultivation, which makes this an exciting plant group for the hobbyist grower.