Cineraria — Cineraria is now generally treated as a genus of about 50 species of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, native to southern Africa. The genus includes herbaceous plants and small subshrubs.
In the past, the genus was commonly viewed in a broader sense including a number of species from the Canary Islands and Madeira which are now transferred to the genus Pericallis, including the Florist’s Cineraria (Pericallis x hybrida).
Cinerarias are daisylike flowers that are grown by florists as greenhouse ornamentals; they can be planted outdoors in warm climates. They are hybrids of various groundsels, one species of which is thought to be Senecio cruentus, native to the Canary Islands. Cinerarias are perennial plants but are cultivated as annuals, being discarded after the blooming period is over. Their leaves are broad, heavily veined, and shiny; the top side of each leaf is green, and the underside is purple. The leaves and stems are covered with fine, woolly hairs. The flowers bloom profusely in dense clusters and exhibit a wide range of colors, including pink, blue, violet, or light red; some varieties have two or more rings of color–white and violet, for instance. Varieties can be classified into three types, depending on whether the flowers are large, compact, or star shaped. Cinerarias bloom in spring but can be forced to flower in winter. These plants are readily susceptible to insect infestations, particularly aphids and leaf miners.