Full name and orig. publication: Alsobia Hanst., Linnaea 26: 207 (April 1854, "1853").

Etymology: From the Greek άλσος, alsos = bosk, groove, forest, and βιος, bios = life, βιέιν, biein = live, alluding to the (epiphytic) life in the forest.

Synonyms: Episcia sect. Alsobia (Hanst.) Benth. (1876), Episcia sect. Episcia subsect. Alsobia (Hanst.) Leeuwenb. (1958).

Infrafamilial position: Gesnerioid Gesneriaceae (Gesnerioideae) - Episcieae.

Description: Stoloniferous epiphytic herbs. Stem creeping or pendent, with one stolon per node in the axils of alternating leaves, the subsequent stolons giving the appearance of a single pendent stem with numerous plantlets (= stolon apex with opposite, crowded leaves) in a series. Leaves with a several-layered hypodermis on the adaxial side. Flower and fruit as in Episcia, corolla white or white-punctate.

Chromosome number: 2n = 18.

Species number: 2 [A. dianthiflora (H.E.Moore & R.G.Wilson) Wiehler, A. punctata (Lindl.) Hanst.].

Species names (incl. publication and synonyms): See Skog, L.E. & J.K. Boggan. 2005: World checklist of Gesneriaceae:

Type species: Alsobia punctata (Lindl.) Hanst.

Distribution: Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

Ecology: Epiphytic or low terrestrial in forest.

Notes: Closely allied to Episcia (if generically distinct at all), distinguished by the monochasial branching pattern.

Selected references: Wiehler, Selbyana 5: 28 (1978), re-estab. & rev.

Bibliography: See Skog, L.E. & J.K. Boggan. 2005. Bibliography of the Gesneriaceae. 2nd edition:


Alsobia punctata (Lindl.) Hanst., type species

Left: Linnaea 26, fig. 45 (1853), original illustration
Right: Bot. Mag. t. 4089 (1844), as Episcia punctata

Alsobia dianthiflora (H.E.Moore & R.G.Wilson) Wiehler

Left: cult. Marie Selby BG, phot. A. Weber (1982)
Right: cult. RBG Edinburgh, phot. A. Weber (1998)

Alsobia dianthiflora

Wiehler, Selbyana 5, fig. 18 (1978)


last modified: 2007-01-05