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Origin and Habitat: São Paulo state in Brazil
Habitat and ecology: Sinningia magnifica is a rupicolous or lithophyte plant often found growing in rocky crevices in sheltered or relatively exposed locations in rain forests. It occasionally forms natural hybrid with Sinningia striata. It is pollinated by hummingbirds.
- Sinningia magnifica (Otto & A.Dietr.) Wiehler
Sinningia magnifica (Otto & A.Dietr.) Wiehler
Selbyana 1(1): 32 1975
- Sinningia magnifica (Otto & A.Dietr.) Wiehler
- Corytholoma magnificum (Otto & A.Dietr.) Fritsch
- Dircaea magnifica (Otto & A.Dietr.) Decne.
- Gesneria bulbosa var. magnifica (Otto & A.Dietr.) Klotzsch
- Gesneria magnifica Otto & A.Dietr.
- Rechsteineria magnifica (Otto & A.Dietr.) Kuntze
- Dircaea lobulata Lem.
- Gesneria houttei Dumortier
- Gesneria merckii H.L.Wendl.
ENGLISH: Calamari Orchid
Description: Sinningia magnifica, likewise Sinningia cardinalis has gorgeous scarlet, hooded flowers, but is a little taller, 30-90 cm high, has larger leaves, and the flowers are borne in a cluster above the foliage. Mature plants will produce several stems making a striking display when it is in bloom. The red stalk and peduncles contribute to a fine display. This species is one of several South American gesneriads which are borderline succulents, caudiciforms, or waterplants with large fleshy tubers and is often cultivated by cactus and succulent enthusiasts as a caudiciform.
Habit: Herbs with perennial globose tubers with 1 to several stems(on older plants).
Growth: Indeterminate. Sinningia magnifica blooms on an extended axis that can have as many flowers as its growing conditions permit, while the number of flowers on a plant with determinate growth, while not completely circumscribed, is not as flexible. Dormancy appears to be obligate, but because this species blooms late in the year, it retains its leaves through much of the winter.
Tuber (caudex): Perennial, flattened spherical, apex sunken, fleshy but solid partially exposed above ground. They are storage organs that allow the plant to survive periods of drought, cold or other conditions inhospitable to growth.
Stems: Upright, simple, annual, fully deciduous, with visible scar remaining on tuber, 30-90 cm tall, densely hairy with erect white to reddish hairs.
Leaves: Opposite, decussate, bright green, lamina broadly ovate, 7-18 cm long, 5-15 cm broad, densely pubescent particularly on the lower face, base cordate, tip acute, margin irregularly crenate to serrate; petioles 0.5 - 3.5 cm long, getting shorter from bottom to top of stem.
Inflorescences: Comprising the 3 - 8 upper axils with leaves progressively turning into bracts towards the top. Peduncle 2-8 cm long, dichotomously branched, with 2-12 florets. Pedicels 2-4 cm long.
Flower: Orange-red to scarlet (occasionally peach coloured, pink or white), tubular, horizontal to somewhat pendulant, densely pubescent. Calix subcampanulate, tube 2-3 mm, lobes subequal, ovate-lanceolate to triangular, 4-5 mm long; Corolla tubular, 4.5 - 5 cm long, bright red, base gibbous with 5 globose swellings 1/2 covered by the calix lobes, tube shortly constricted, then expanding on the dorsal side, somewhat laterally compressed, limb bilabiate, the 2 upper lobes united, erect, 15 x 8 mm, the 2 lateral 1-2 long, 7-8 mm broad, the ventral 1 mm long, 5 mm broad, marked with red-purple irregular dots. Filaments reddish, pubescent. Anthers coherent in a disc. Nectar-glands2 dorsal and basally connate. Ovary superior. Style reddish.
Blooming season: Blooms in autumn.
Fruits (dry capsules): Conical, about 1 cm long, tip acuminate.
Notes: Etymology: Latin magnifica ("grand, splendid"), from magni- ("large") + -fic-, from the verb facere ("to make").
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) H. E. K. Hartmann “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Aizoaceae : A – E” Springer, 2002
2) Araujo, A.O.; Chautems, A. Gesneriaceae in "Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil. Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro." Disponível em: <http://reflora.jbrj.gov.br/jabot/floradobrasil/FB7921>. Acesso em: 22 Jan. 2014 .
3) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey “The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass” Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
Cultivation and Propagation: Sinningia magnifica is perfect in full sun or light shade. It also makes great houseplants. Provide ample food and water during the summer growing season and plant in free draining soil. Sinningia has a dormant period after flowering (winter rest) and comes into growth in early spring. After a period of dormancy the tuber will send up new growth and the cycle will repeat. Some cultivars can be induced to remain in almost perpetual growth, with no period of full dormancy. Others may go dormant, and never "break dormancy", or begin new growth. But most plants will produce new and better growth after a period of dormant inactivity.
Soil: Use a lime free soil that retains water yet drains well with a little added pumice will suffice.
Pots: Always use a pot with a hole and provide a good drainage.
Watering: Drench the soil and let it become moderately dry between waterings when it is in growth and during the winter or dormant season must be kept very much on the dry side. Perpetually wet soil may result in rotting of the tuber, while dry conditions will usually induce premature dormancy.
Fertilization:: Needs a regular light fertilization during growing season including all micro nutrients and trace elements or slow release fertilizer at the rate of 1/4 the dose indicated in the label. However some of the more robust cultivars will respond favourably to a more concentrated solution, and some of the smaller cultivars need very little feeding.
Exposures: It requires bright conditions, but not sun and can be grown eventually under bright fluorescent lights or in a greenhouse and many tolerate windowsill conditions if humidity can be kept up and bright light provided without too much direct sun.
Hardiness: This species is supposed to be more tolerant of cold than other sinningias and it is also mentioned that it can withstand brief exposures to temperatures of -1° C, but for safe cultivation it is best to avoid temperatures below 10° C.
Pest & diseases: Prone to mealy bugs. Always inspect any new plant for pests before introducing it to your home or greenhouse.
Propagation: Seeds. It can bloom in about 30 months under optimal conditions.
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