The gesneriad family, or Gesneriaceae scientifically speaking, is a group of mostly tropical flowering plants distributed throughout the world’s tropical forests. Centers of diversity include Andean South America, East-Central and South Africa, and southeast Asia. Approximately 1/3 of gesneriads are epiphytic and are a research focus at Selby Gardens
Gesneriads can be recognized by a suite of characters including usually opposite leaves that are oftentimes hirsute and sometimes fleshy, flowers often brightly colored and showy, usually with five petals and five sepals. Many species of corolla petals fused into a tube, associated with bird and insect pollination. Gesneriads also supply food for many canopy species of birds, insects and mammals. Gesneriads are commonly grown horticulturally and are important scientifically as a model for understanding broad-scale patterns in the evolution, dispersal and diversification of plants.
To learn more about gesneriads and the collections, research and conservation efforts going on at Selby Gardens, please visit the Gesneriad Research Center area.