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(Gloxinia family)


About 2000 species in 120 genera are mainly distributed in tropical and subtropical regions.

[Summary yet to be added]

Columnea L.

Two hundred species are native to tropical America.

Columnea pilosissima Standley

Two patients who had contact dermatitis from Streptocarpus showed positive patch test reactions to the leaf, negative to the petal of this plant (Van Ketel 1973).

Saintpaulia H. Wendl.
African Violet

Twelve species are native to tropical East Africa.

Plants of this genus, commonly cultivated indoors, are some of the more popular house-plants of North America. Positive patch test reactions to the hairy leaf may indicate irritancy (Hjorth 1968); therefore, anecdotal reports of dermatitis from the plants must be treated with caution.

Saintpaulia ionantha H. Wendl.
African Violet

Several varieties and many cultivars are known. The flower produced positive patch test reactions in three patients and the leaf in two of 154 patients tested (Agrup 1969). Heyl (1972) briefly noted two cases of contact dermatitis from the plant. No fully documented case has been found.

Sinningia Nees

Twenty species are native to Brazil.

Sinningia speciosa Hiern

The hairy leaves can produce irritant patch test reactions (Rook 1968, Hjorth 1968). Such reactions (Agrup 1969, Heyl 1972) may not be significant.

Streptocarpus Lindl.
Trumpet Flower

About 100 species are native to tropical and South Africa and to Madagascar.

Three women developed striate dermatitis of the arms, neck and face. Patch test reactions to the leaf and flower were positive, negative in 17 of 18 controls. Additional contact sensitivity was found in two of the cases; in the first to Primula obconica, Rhododendron indicum, Cyclamen persicum, and Fuchsia; in the second, to Browallia, (Agrup & Fregert 1968). Two women had dermatitis of the hands and forearms resembling nummular eczema. Patch tests to the leaf produced positive reactions, negative to the petal; tests in ten controls were negative. The patients showed positive patch test reactions to Columnea pilossisima, balsam of Peru (from Myroxylon balsamum Harms, fam. Leguminosae), cinnamic and caffeic acids: negative to Saintpaulia, Gloxinia and Episcia (Van Ketel 1973). Of 21 patients tested one showed a positive patch test reaction to the leaf and one to the flower (Agrup 1969).

Streptocarpus rexii Lindl.
[syn. Didymocarpus rexii Bowie ex Hook.]
Cape Primrose

Two female horticulturalists developed acute vesicular striate dermatitis of the hands resembling Primula dermatitis. Patch tests to the leaf produced positive reactions, negative in seven controls (Rook 1968).


  • [Yet to be added. Details available on request]

Richard J. Schmidt

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