The photo above was forwarded to me by one of my most valuable contacts during my research, Dr B. Bytebier, South Africa.
The causes of the destruction of the natural environment of the African violet, like many other plant and animal species, are largely due to deforestation and the search for new territories to exploit from the locals. Given that cleared land quickly become infertile, the natives must move to meet their needs.
With the forest layer gone, the rains literally wash the land, making them sterile. This has the consequence of destroying the flora, and displacing people and animals to other sites, deeper into the forest. Unfortunately, if man keeps his insatiable quest for the pursuit of absolute power over everything, he will one day completely destroy these priceless treasures.
Large pharmaceutical companies are also responsible for this disaster. 40% of components used in the manufacture of drugs in the United States are from Africa. 80% of all species of plants and animals living on our world are found only in Africa and no where else on our planet. Alarming figures indeed! At conferences and workshops where I give talks on African violets.
I always say that if you grow even only one species of this genus you are doing your part, however small it may be, to safeguard of at least one species on our planet. Also, nothing prevents you from adopting a different species of another genus.
Here is a photo showing the natural environment of 5b. cl. difficilis. This species was discovered by Greenway in 1939 and the source of the Sigi River. The above photo was taken along the river near Kwamkoro on the East Usambara Mountains in Tanzania. This is one of the locations where one can find populations of S. difficilis.
This species grows on the surface of gneiss rocks on leaf mold near this river. The elevation of this particular region is between 900 m and 1500 m (2 950'- 3 440').