Full name and orig. publication: Moussonia Regel, Ind. Sem. Hort. Bot. Turic. [4] (1847), reimp. in Flora 31: 248. (1848).

Etymology: Named in honor of J. R. A. Mousson (1805-1890), physicist and zoologist at Zurich, Switzerland.

Synonyms: Isloma Benth. sect. Brachyloma (Hanst.) Benth., p. p. (1876), Kohleria Regel sect. Moussonia (Regel) Fritsch (1894).

Infrafamilial position: Gesnerioid Gesneriaceae (Gesnerioideae) - Gloxinieae.

Description: Terrestrial herbs or subshrubs. Stem erect, branched, without scaly rhizomes. Leaves opposite, isophyllous. Inflorescences axillary, cymes or solitary flowers. Flowers with red, orange to yellow corolla, tube long, broadest at the middle, base and throat narrow, limb with nearly regular lobes. Stamens 4, adnate to base of corolla tube, included. Nectary annular. Ovary semi-inferior to almost completely inferior, apex conical; stigma capitate-stomatomorphic. Nectary annular. Fruit a dry, ovoid or ellipsoid bivalved capsule.

Chromosome number: 2n = 22.

Species number: 11.

Type species: Moussonia elongata Regel, presumed to be based on Gesneria elongata sensu Martens & Galeotti = M. deppeana (Schltdl. & Cham.) Hanst. = Isoloma deppeanum Hemsl. (Skog 1979).

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

Distribution: From Mexico to Panama.

Ecology: Terrestrial forest herb, growing in damp or wet places.

Notes: Formerly included in Kohleria, but differing in chromosome number, ring-shaped nectary and lacking rhizomes. Molecular results support the separation from that genus (Zimmer et. al. 2002, Roalson et al. 2005a,b). Pollination is presumably by hummingbirds.

Selected references: Wiehler, Selbyana 1: 22-31 (1975), re-establ. & rev.; Skog, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 65: 947-951 (1979), reg. rev. (Panama).; Skog, Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 85: 1114-1128 (2001), reg. rev. (Nicaragua);  Zimmer, Roalson, Skog, Boggan, Idnurm, 2002, Amer. J. Bot. 89 (2): 296-311;  Roalson, Skog, Zimmer. 2003: Syst. Bot. 28: 593-608;  Roalson, Boggan, Skog, Zimmer, Taxon 54(2): 389-410 (2005a), molec. syst.; Roalson, Boggan, Skog, Selbyana 25(2): 225-238 (2005), tax.

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


Moussonia deppeana (Schltdl. & Cham.) Hanst. (= M. elongata Regel, type),

left: Bot. Mag. t. 3725 (1840), as M. elongata
right: Linnaea 26, t. 1 (1853)

Moussonia elegans Decne.

Fl. Serre 5, t. 489 (1849)

Moussonia hirsutissima (Morton) Wiehler

Mexico, phot. M. Stone 793C


last modified: 2007-07-13