Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
a family of dicotyledonous plants related to the figworts (Scrophulariaceae). They are mainly herbs, sometimes with thickened rhizomes, and rarely shrubs, woody lianas, and small trees. Many small Gesneriaceae are epiphytes. The blossoms are primarily large, brightly colored, bisexual, and predominantly irregular. There are over 120 genera (more than 1,800 species), chiefly in the tropics and subtropics. In the USSR there are no wild Gesneriaceae. In some species of the genus Streptocarpus, the entire subterranean portion shows only one large leaf. Many Gesneriaceae, especially Gloxinias and the Saintpaulia ionantha violet, are greenhouse and house ornamentals.