Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Sinningia speciosa ‘Maxima Discolor’

A cultivar of Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern, Gloxinia discolor was described in the Floricultural Cabinet of 1854: ‘light blue, with a dark purple front, and a broad stripe of white inside the blossom; very neat.’  This may be the catalogue plant, but see also Sinningia speciosa ‘Caulescens Discolor’.  [FC p.100/1854, Moore].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Gloxinia maxima was reviewed in the Floricultural Cabinet of 1838: ‘The flowers are of an extraordinary size, white with a deep purple along the lower part of the corolla inside, producing a fine effect.  It is a hybrid recently raised, we understand, in the neighbourhood of London by a gentleman’s gardener.’  [FC p.262/1838].  This is the plant described by Sweet.  The same plant was figured in the British Florist, with pure white flowers, with a bluish-purple stripe inside the lower petals.  [BF pl.35/1842].  Paxton's Dictionary also describes G. maxima, a hybrid with ‘pale white’ flowers, introduced in 1837.  See also Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern var. maxima alba.  The first improvements modifying the early florists’ gloxinias were crosses between the various Sinningia speciosa speciosa forms.  In 1838 a hybrid between the type S. speciosa speciosa and a white form, probably ‘Albiflora’, was listed under the garden name Gloxinia candida.  It was figured Paxton's Magazine of Botany in 1838 with this description: ‘Raised in the Epsom Nursery (Mr. Young) from impregnation between a purple species and a white one, G. speciosa and G. candida; but, though the colour of its flowers participates in some slight and modified degree to that of both its parents, it is evidently sufficiently distinct from all other known species to warrant the application of a specific name expressive of the large size of its flowers.’  [MB p.219/1838].  This and similar varieties were called Sinningia speciosa convariety maxima by Moore.  Cutlivars are similar to the Sinningia speciosa convariety speciosa group but generally have larger, nodding flowers in a range of solid or mixed colours.  They are of the slipper gloxinia type.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1857 catalogue [B.190/1857] but first recorded in a handwritten entry in a copy of the 1850 catalogue held at the Mitchell Library and inscribed on the front Wm. Macarthur, 23rd Dec. 1854.  [ML635.9m].


Published Sep 06, 2009 - 04:20 PM | Last updated Aug 21, 2011 - 02:49 PM

Figured is a white slipper gloxinia with a broad purple stripe at the base.  Paxton's Magazine of Botany p.219, 1838.

Sinningia speciosa ‘Maxima’ | MB p.219/1838.  This is Gloxinia x maxima of Paxton, probably similar to maxima discolor.

Family Gesneriaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, England

  • Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern convariety maxima var. discolor
  • Gloxinia x maxima Pax. discolor


Common Name

Gloxinia, Slipper gloxinia

Name in the Camden Park Record

Gloxinia maxima discolor 


Confidence level medium