Full name and orig. publication: : Vanhouttea Lem., Bull. Soc. Hort. Orleans 1: 346 (Jan. 1845).

Etymology: Named in honor of Louis Benoit van Houtte (1810-1876), an acknowledged Belgian holticulturist and editor of the “Flore des Serres et des Jardins de l'Europe”. 

Synonyms: Houttea Decne. (1848), nom. superfl.

Infrafamilial position: Gesnerioid Gesneriaceae (Gesnerioideae) - Sinningieae. 

Description: Terrestrial shrubs or subshrubs, with fibrous roots (no tubers or rhizomes). Leaves opposite. Corolla tubular, cylindrical, red. Nectary of 5 individual glands (sometimes connected at the base by a narrow ring). Ovary semi-inferior. Fruit a bivalved capsule.

Chromosome number: Unknown.

Species number: 8.

Type species: Vanhouttea calcarata Lem.

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

Distribution: SE Brazil.

Ecology: Mainly in the "campo de alttitude" vegetation of Brazil, on damp rocks at higher elevations (to 1600m).

Notes: Corolla form and color indicate ornithophily. The genus is morphologically very close to Paliavana. The differences are only in the corolla form and coloration, which, however, reflect little more than different pollination syndromes. Both morphological (Boggan 1991) and molecular data (Perret et al. 2003) suggest inclusion of Vanhouttea and Paliavana into Sinningia.

Selected references: Wiehler, Selbyana 6: 180 (1983); Boggan, Thesis Cornell Univ. (1991), morph., cladist; Chautems, Candollea 56: 261-279 (2002), new spp., rev.; Chautems, Spichiger, Kite & Savolainen, Amer. J. Bot. 90 (3): 445-460 (2003), molec. syst. 

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


Vanhouttea calcarata Lem., type species

Cult. & phot. J.K. Boggan, at Cornell University (1990)

Vanhouttea gardneri (Hook.) Fritsch

Cult. M. Peixoto (Sao Paulo), Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Organ Mts., phot. A. Chautems

Vanhouttea lanata Fritsch

Gloxinian 44 (1994)

Vanhouttea leonii Chautems

Brazil, Minas Gerais, Mt. Caparaó, phot. A. Chautems


last modified: 2007-07-13