Full name and orig. publication: Neomortonia Wiehler, Selbyana 1: 17 (20 Feb. 1975).

Etymology: Composed of the Greek νεος, neos = new, and Morton, honoring Conrad Vernon Morton (1905-1972), an eminent American botanist.

Synonyms: -

Infrafamilial position: Gesnerioid Gesneriaceae (Gesnerioideae) - Episcieae.

Description: Epiphytic or saxicolous herbs. Stems pendent, repent, or scrambling, to 1 m long, slender, 1-2 mm in diam., frequently branched. Leaves opposite, rarely in whorls of three, ± isophyllous, petiole very short (2-5mm), lamina small (0,5-1,5cm), membranous, ovate or elliptic, crenulate or serrulate, pedicels slender. Flowers solitary in the leaf axils, showy, oblique in the calyx. Sepals free, entire or serrulate, green. Corolla white, eventually reddish on upper side, tube spurred at base, funnel-shaped, limb with spreading, fringed lobes; or red, strongly pouched, mouth constricted. Stamens 4, included, filaments curved, adnate to base of corolla tube, and shortly connate in a tube around the ovary; anthers coherent in pairs, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Nectary a dorsal bilobed gland, white. Ovary superior; stigma stomatomorphic. Fruit an ovoid, laterally compressed berry, orange; seeds surrounded by an aril on lower half, striate, yellow to brown.

Chromosome number: 2n = 18.

Species number: 3 [N. alba Wiehler, N. nummularia (Hanst.) Wiehler, N. rosea Wiehler].

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

Type species: Neomortonia rosea Wiehler

Distribution: W Colombia and C America.

Ecology: Growing on damp, shady rocks or epiphytically on trees in lowland or montane forests.

Notes: N. rosea has episcioid flowers, indicating pollination by euglossine bees. N. nummularia has bright red, strongly pouched (“hypocyrtoid“) flowers and is probably pollinated by hummingbirds. Unpublished molecular data (J.F. Smith) suggest that the genus is not monophyletic. The third species, N. alba, is perhaps only a white variant of N. rosea (J.F.Smith, pers. comm.).

Selected references: Skog, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 65: 958-961 (1979), reg. rev. (Panama); Wiehler, Selbyana 6: 194 (1983), gen. inf.

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


Neomortonia rosea Wiehler, type species

Left: Ann. Missouri Bot. Garden 65: 960, fig. 27 (1979)
Right: Gloxinian 38 (3): 19 (1988)

Neomortonia nummularia (Hanst.) Wiehler

Left: Gloxinian 38 (3): 18 (1988)
Right: Plant of the week, Smithsonian Institution, 
phot. L. Brothers,


last modified: 2007-07-13