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2006-11-06Columnea 14.jpg
Columnea crassifolia
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Gesneriaceae
Genus: Columnea

About 200, see text

  • Dalbergaria
  • Pentadenia
  • Trichantha

and see text

Columnea is a genus of ca. 200 species of epiphytic herbs and shrubs in the flowering plant family Gesneriaceae, native to tropical America and the Caribbean. The tubular or oddly shaped flowers are usually large and brightly colored – usually red, yellow, or orange – sometimes resembling a fish in shape. A common name is flying goldfish plants (see also the related Nematanthus) due to the unusual flower shape.

The generic name Columnea was named by Carl Linnaeus after the Latinized spelling of the name of the 16th-century Italian botanist Fabio Colonna (Latin: Fabius Columnus).[1]

The segregate genus Bucinellina is considered by many botanists a synonym of Columnea. A full list of the species now accepted in the genus, along with their synonyms, can be found at the World Checklist of Gesneriaceae.


Columnea species grow as epiphytic plants in the wild and require bright light, good air circulation, and a well-drained growing medium that is allowed to dry out slightly between waterings. They are very tolerant of underpotting and seem to bloom best when potbound. Most are tropical plants and are easy to grow under indoor or greenhouse conditions but some species come from high altitudes and require cooler temperatures to grow well or bloom. Many of the species are seasonal bloomers, but hybrids and cultivars can be more or less continuously blooming.


The species classified under Columnea include the following:[2]


  1. ^ Anton Weber & Laurence E. Skog (July 13, 2007). "Columnea s.str. (sensu Wiehler 1983)". The Genera of Gesneriaceae. Basic information with illustration of selected species. Ed. 2. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  2. ^ L.E. Skog & J.K. Boggan (2007). "World Checklist of Gesneriaceae". Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved February 13, 2012.

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