The history and origins of the African violet can certainly surprise many. We think we know this plant which is a very popular houseplant in homes across the world, but think again, what do we really know. That's what I realized during my research in writing a book on this subject. I discovered a simple little plant buried deep in the rainforest of central Africa.
Between the years 1858 and 1893, many "explorers" from different countries have discovered the African violet in Tanzania and Kenya. A little more than two dozen species have been recorded at this time. In1892 Baron Walter von St. Paul-Illaire was able to export specimens in good enough condition so that we could classify the violets as a family and give it a name. Baron Walter von St. Paul-Illaire was from a family that was very interested in botany. He sent his specimens to his father, Ulrich von The Tanneux St. Paul-Hillaire, president of the Society of Dendrology of Germany.
Hermann Wendland, master gardener, taxonomist and director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Herrenhaussen in Hanover, Germany wrote the first description of the plant. He classified the plant in the Gesneriaceae family and gave it the botanical name Saintpaulia in honor of Baron Walter von St. Paul-Illaire. Then we give the name to the plant "Usambara Veilchen", translated from German by "Usambara violet".
In 1926 the first 10 hybrids made their appearance in the United States. They are called the "Original Ten". These were: Admiral, Amethyst, Blue Boy, Commodore, Mermaid, Neptune, Norseman, Number 32, Sailor Boy and Viking.
When you purchase the book, you will discover more about the history of this fascinating little plant from the thirteenth century to today. You'll make an exciting and informative trip.
The information will be found to be complete, simple and relevant to all levels of growing expertise. With over 300 pictures, 100 illustrations and a dozen tables, this book will become a reference for fanciers and an essential tool for everyone desiring to discover this little plant of undeniable potential. He is also a goldmine of information and pictures of species in their natural environment.
You may also be tempted to experiment in hybridizing your own violets. One chapter is devoted to clearly explaining all hybridizing techniques. Nothing very complicated! Very simple and exciting!
In the last chapter of the book, see how to prepared for African violet shows and how plants are judged.
Saintpaulia, much more than you could imagine!