Description: Herbs, climbers, shrubs or rarely trees.
Leaves radical or opposite and equal in size or often one of the pair smaller, sometimes reduced and stipule-like.
Flowers solitary in axils of leaves [or inflorescence cymose or racemose]. Flowers usually zygomorphic, bisexual, often large and showy. Sepals 5, free or fused and then tube 5-lobed, sometimes fused to ovary. Corolla tubular, 5-lobed, often ± 2-lipped or with an oblique limb. Stamens 4 or 2 and sometimes with a staminode; anthers fused or pairs converging, 2-locular, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary superior to inferior, usually 1-locular; ovules numerous.
Fruit a capsule or berry.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 120 genera, c. 2500 species, widespread in tropical & subtropical regions. Australia: 5 genera, 5 species, Qld, N.S.W., Vic. The genus Negria has only one species and this is found on Lord Howe Island.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Gesneriaceae, Order: Lamiales)
Many forms are widely cultivated as indoor or glasshouse ornamentals, these include species of Saintpaulia (African Violet), Sinningia (Gloxinia) and Streptocarpus (Cape Primrose).
Text by G. J. Harden
Taxa not yet included in identification key