Full name and orig. publication: Heppiella Regel, Gartenflora 2: 353, t. 70 (Dec. 1853).
Etymology: Named after Johann Adam Philipp Hepp (1797-1867), a medical doctor and acknowledged lichenologist from Switzerland.
Synonyms: Cheirisanthera [Hort. ex] Regel (1853), Chorisanthera [Hort. ex] Hérincq. (1852), nom. inval., Chorysanthera [Decne. ex] Regel (1852), nom. illeg., non [Wall. ex] Benth. (1839).
Infrafamilial position: Gesnerioid Gesneriaceae (Gesnerioideae) - Gloxinieae.
Description: Epipetric or (less commonly) epiphytic, perennial, rhizomatous, ± suffruticose herbs. Leaves opposite, sometimes in whorls of 3, membranous, glandular hairy. Axillary cymes with or without peduncle, sometimes composing a terminal, corymboid thyrse, or reduced to single flowers. Sepals usually short, ± equal. Corolla red; tubular, straight, limb with small (sub)equal lobes. Stamens 4, included or slightly exserted; filaments adnate to corolla base; anthers free. Nectary ring-shaped. Ovary semi-inferior; stigma stomatomorphic. Fruit a dry, bivalved capsule with loculicidal dehiscence.
Chromosome number: 2n = 26.
Species number: 4.
Species names (incl. publication and synonyms): See Skog, L.E. & J.K. Boggan. 2005: World checklist of Gesneriaceae: http://persoon.si.edu/Gesneriaceae/Checklist.
Type species: Heppiella atrosanguinea Regel = H. viscida (Lindl. & Paxt.) Fritsch
Distribution: Peru and western Venezuela.
Ecology: Usually growing on damp, mossy rocks, rarely epiphytic at the base of trees.
Notes: In his revision of the genus, Kvist (1990) reduced the 19 species previously described to four, one [the extremely variable H. ulmifolia (Kunth) Hanst.] being wide-spread and common, the others of local distribution. Molecular analyses (with H. ulmifolia and H. viscida included in the analysis) confirm the placement of Heppiella in tribe Gloxinieae, but do not suggest a close relationship to any other genus (Roalson 2005a,b). The phylogenetic position of H. repens and H. verticillata remains to be tested.
Heppiella has its main distribution in the Andes. The flowers are apparently ornithophilous (observations refer to H. repens), self-pollination may also occur.
Selected references: Kvist, Syst. Bot. 15: 720-735 (1990), rev.; Roalson, Boggan, Skog, Zimmer, Taxon 54(2): 389-410 (2005a), molec. syst.; Roalson, Boggan, Skog, Selbyana 25(2): 225-238 (2005b), tax.
Bibliography: See Skog, L.E. & J.K. Boggan. 2005. Bibliography of the Gesneriaceae. 2nd edition: http://persoon.si.edu/Gesneriaceae/Bibliography.
Heppiella viscida (Lindl. & Paxt.) Fritsch (= H. atrosanguinea
Gartenflora 2, t. 70 (1853), orig. illustration
last modified: 2007-07-13