Revisiting Rob’s Monkeyshines, Chimera African Violet

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Click on any of the above images to enlarge.

It has been years since my last Rob’s Monkeyshines bloomed, literally years.  It sat dormant, growing nicely just not blooming.  This is a semi-miniature white pansy chimera with red-purple colors with blue fantasy.  A remarkable little bloom where no two blooms are the same as exemplified in the images of three random blooms on the same plant.  I could have taken 10 pictures and they would all look different.  The appreciation and wonder of the genetics in chimera African violets is exemplified in this plant.  This plant like all chimera African violets  have two genotype populations that live on the same plant resulting in this little gem expressing this interesting flower phenotype.

When Is A Chimera Concord Not A Chimera Concord?

Flower Plant 1

It all started with an email from someone that I had just sold a Concord chimera African violet to.  The buyer of my plant stated that he was happy to get the Concords I was selling because they had larger white strip sections.  I did not really understand what he meant since I purchased my Concord a long time ago (a decade or so back) from Lyndon Lyon’s Greenhouse.  So what perception was the person that e-mailed me working under?   To me a Concord is a Concord.  Even gringo beginners can pick out a Concord from 25 yards.

So it was not but a few months later when I saw on ebay (the epitome of the free market), a chimera African violet, Concord.  And sure enough the photos of what was being offered appeared a little skimpy on the white strip portion in the blooms as well as the blooms looking smaller.  I carefully read the text and the seller was selling this Concord as a special strain that had a little different look.  Never the less he was still selling it as Concord.  I had to have to it. So I placed an aggressive bid.  Read More »

Crown Rot, Root Rot Among My Chimera African Violets

Crownrot

Above Crown rot, ( the work of the fungi Phytophthora)  I knew about it but never experienced it in my many years of growing African violets.   Well I was not only introduced to it first hand in December and January but it moved into my growing room and took up residence.   I have now lost 1/3 of my plants.  I believe now it has been banished from my plant room if not my house thanks to a number of practices I have changed and 10% bleach.   It was my fault.  I have always used a rather heavy potting mix as I try to minimize the time I spend watering plants.  And with this very early and very cold winter we are experiencing in Ohio (Temperature as of this writing is -5 degrees below zero or -20.5 degrees Celsius) I am seeing extremely  low indoor relative humidity levels.  The plants dry out then I over water.   I had not been inspecting the plants on a regular basis as I have been busy with other projects.  Root rot, crown rot is caused by the Phytophthora  fungus, which attacks the roots and, most notably, the crown of African Violets.  Usually the first sign and  symptom which I missed as I was not paying attention is the drooping of the leaves despite the fact the soil was moist, if not wet.  That was indicative of the fact that the roots have failed and are not absorbing the moisture.  At lease at this point the crowns are salvageable which I did a fair share of crown removal, bleaching  and rooting including a 10 yr old Granger Red and White stripe.  Most all the plants I removed the crowns and treated with 10% bleach and placed in fesh potting mixture or mixture that was baked at 380 degrees for 45 minutes.  They are all doing very well. 

Hear is a nice example of a very advanced case of crown rot.   

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Other Symptoms include but not limited to when the crown has a web like substance on and around it. Leaves become darkened and or wilt while green.  Growth is slowed or totally inhibited.

I did an extensive web search on treatments and the findings were rather dismal.  Nothing can really be done other then discard the plant and soil and pot.  On plants where the crown was still in tact I removed it making sure the cut was above the infected area.  I then placed the crown in a solution of 10% bleach (I prefer Clorox).  It was sealed in a container and essentially inverted for 10 minutes.  It was rinsed well and potted in soil that was baked at 380 degrees F for 45 minutes.  And the pots I used were also placed in 10% bleach for 30 minutes and rinsed well.  The crowns in their new soil (moist but not wet and much lighter)  were placed in plastic bags.  In 2 weeks most of the crowns has a nice little root system and were removed from the bags.

Prevention is always your best bet for successfully controlling Crown Rot I guess. But since I never had the issue I just assumed I was fine and it was not something I was concerned about.  So going forward I will  not overwater, I not let the soil dry out completely before watering.  Finally I started using a more light, porous potting soil.  I am also (for the first time) starting to consider some sort of self watering device.

I cannot end this post with the painful pictures of the carnage of a fungus.  The below image comes again courtesy of J. Miemietz, a grower of African violets  and an  exceptional photographer who resides in Germany.  This is her  Mauna Loa that was grown from a crown.  Good to know as bleak as things are or were on my plant stands in Ohio, things are green and in bloom in Germany.

Mauna Loa (Eyerdom)

Follow-up On Some Chimera African Violet Projects

For whatever reason there has been minimal blooming this month but a lot of growth with plantlets I produced from flower stalks from some “different” blooms. First I have the 7 petal Mauna Loa (Eyerdom) bloom. I produced a plantlet from that stalk. Not that I am expecting a plant that has 6 or 7 petal blooms, but the concept and frequency of 6 petal blooms on some chimera African violets intrigues me and although I do not expect selecting them by stalk can produce a higher frequency petal bloom per plant, I just have the urge to do it. What if? So I am. The link to the previous article and image can be seen reviewed by just clicking here.

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Click on image to enlarge

 The next two photographs below were plantlets produced from the flower stalks of the sport of Shimai.  Click on ‎this link to review the article and see the sport.  They are glowing nicely and I expect a bloom in April or May.  While the third plantlet

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almost seemed as if it was failing to thrive as it was rather small and was growing at a much slower rate.

sport Shimai 2

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A closer look from a side angle revealed two plantlets.  Once I get a little more growth from both I will separate them.  How true or if any of these plantlets will be true to the parent plant is still in question.  The parent succumb to what I believe was Cylindrocarpon or root rot.   The habit of letting the plants get very dry and then over watering in large part the result of my schedule.  I will have to seriously start considering wicking or some other means to maintain these plants.   I removed the crown in an effort to save the plant so it will be a while before more stalks of this sport can be produced.

Sport of Shimai

Click on image to enlarge

Can You Grow Chimera African Violets from Seed?

NO!   You cannot.   I have seen articles and post on occasion pop-up stating you can grow Chimera African violets from seed.  You can’t.  Chimeras are made up of two genotypes in the body of the plant.  The very process of pollen and egg production excludes one of the two genotypes.  Hence you cannot produce a chimera African violet from seed.  I have in past posts demonstrated this in an experiment.   But can you use the seed of chimera African violets to produce African violets (non-chimera)?  You sure can!  Attached is a link to a very simple and very effective way I grow African violets from seed. Click this link to see how to plant African violet seeds.

 

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The Image above illustrates how small an African violet seed really is.  So small is an African violet seed  that a single seed can get lost in the center of a “C” in the word “cent” on a penny.  Orchid seeds which are the tiniest of seeds are not that much smaller than an African violet seed.  Compare the seeds using the key at the bottom.

Shimai From Germany

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Click on any of the above images to enlarge.  I admit I enjoy receiving pictures of plants I sold as I often wonder how they are doing.  I also enjoy taking pictures of African violets and especially chimera African violets.  But I will be the first to admit the quality of my photos are at best substandard.  So when I receive a picture of one of the Shimai I sold and it was shipped to a place that was a little further then New York or Chicago and it is thriving and blooming and on top of that the quality of the images are exceptional, well I just have to share it with everyone.  These photos are courtesy of J. Miemietz.  Attached is a Flicker link to enjoy many more exceptional images of Ms. Miemietz.  In my estimation these are some of the nicest images of African violets on the web.   Click here to link.

Concord an Observed Color Variation

Concord, AVSA Reg. #7807 (Horikoshi/Ozaki), Is one of my favorite chimera African violets.  I am apparently not alone with that assessment.  Perhaps it is the deep purple stripe on the bloom that is contracted to the pure white stripe.  As far as propagation it is also a bit more challenging, often times just refusing to grow in tissue culture or just sitting there for an extra 4 weeks before any signs of growth or life than finally producing a small plantlet. I usually grow them with maybe a 1/2 dozen in culture and another 4-5 in some stage of growth in pots.  As they bloom true I either place them on eBay or am contacted by one of the readers and friends of this blog and sell the plant to them.  So it leaves little time to compare blooms.   It was several months ago I sold a Concord on eBay and thought to myself as I was posting the picture, that the image appeared lighter than the other blooms. As you know chimera blooms or for that matter African violet bloom can vary a bit in color based on lighting and water conditions.  Recently I had a couple of Concords blooming in concert.  As far as I am concerned the temperature, watering conditions and lighting was near identical between these two plants yet the shade of purple was different.  See the plants in bloom below.  The images were taken under the same lighting and at the same time to eliminate any variance in the photography so the true color difference could be noticed.  Click on the images to enlarge.

Concord Standard Color ConcordL

I also removed a petal from each bloom.  They were equivalent in size as well as the white margins were of the same size.  Below is a photograph of the petals overlaid on each other.  One was with the light petal on dark and the other was dark petal on light.  Can you differentiate between the two?  Click on images to enlarge.

L over DD over L

 

 

 

 

 

There are a couple of questions now.     Is this variation the result of an environmental factor or a real mutation?   There is no way to tell other than allowing another blooming cycle and  tissue culture the stems of both plants and see if the two different shades remain constant in the next generation.  This will take 8-9 months but will be an interesting experiment.   I will keep you posted.

Sport Of Shimai

In reference to the Blog of August 1st and 15th, it is now apparent that the plant has mutated in that all the blooms are now reflecting a purple overlay in the green strip.  Several examples are illustrated below.

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It is not that the green strip is absent nor has diminished; rather there is a purple overlay as can be seen in this closer image of the bloom.  I have already cultured the stem and have a tiny plantlet developing.  In about 8 months we will see if there is some stability to this mutation or this plant is just a one-off that may change back or lose the trait.  Click on the images to enlarge them.

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On a totally different note you may find a few slight modifications to the site.  When you click on any of the sites I have in the blog roll it will open that site in a new window allowing you to return back to CHIMERAAV.COM by just  closing the tabs at the top of the screen.  You will also note that the Image Gallery has been restored as well as the ability to post comments has been fixed.   Finally my shopping site is being rebuilt.  I expect it to be up and running shortly.

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Seven Petal Mauna Loa Bloom

Mauna Loa (Eyerdom) is one of my favorites Chimera African violets.  Its bloom  is described in “First Class” as a single chimera light rose star with a dark red stripe.  Based on observations over the years Mauna Loa has a greater propensity to express 6 petals instead of the 5 which is standard with dicots.  Dicots express an odd number of petals as 5 or multiples of such, 10, 15, 20 and so on.

Over the last few years I have been trying to stem culture only those stems of Mauna Loa that express 6 blooms.  Reality is I do not believe this will really selected out a higher bloom number.  It does not make sense to me as I am not selecting out a trait through traditional genetic selection.  I have never been able to produce an all 6 petal flower count.  But this said from just casual observations I am observing what  seems to be more 6 petals per plant, and now even a 7 petal bloom (below).  But I need a control Mauna Loa plant that has not been stem cultured  to verify this.  I never saw a seven (7) petal bloom on Mauna Loa before.  I apologize for the quality of the image.  I was going to photograph the bloom on the plant and the entire bloom fell off the evening prior so I used a black background instead.

7 petalML

 

 

Shimai Sport with Bilateral Blooms? (Part 2)

As a follow up from the last blog, the third pair of blooms opened.  The bilateral behavior has ceased.  The bloom pair and all the other blooms now forming are producing the dark stripe as an overlay to the green stripe producing a dark purple stripe on a white petal.   If this is stable or not I am ot certain and some stem cultures through 3-4 generations will demonstrate that.  I will be starting that process.  Also as a foot note I started stem cultures on the bilateral bloom and a couple of plantlets have formed.  In 8 months or so we should have a bloom and a little more insight.

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Above are the images of the third pair and both blooms are now the same mutated color.

Shimai Sport with Bilateral Blooms?


Shimai Sport

As I was approaching my plant stands I noticed one of the newly opened  Shimai blooms looked different.   Sure enough!  The green stripe had a purple overlay on it.  From a distance it almost looked blackish purple.   What was so odd was on the bloom stalk the bloom that was staring to fade was the traditional Shimai bloom.  It just so happen another stalk was about to bloom.  Over the next week the same pattern unfolded.  First a standard Shimai bloom then the darker strip bloom.  Could be just a fluke but I have a 3rd stalk that is ready to bloom.  Let’s see what happens.  I apologize for the quality of the below image but its purpose is to illustrate what I just described.

Shi Sport

 

A Possible Chimera African Violet Sport of Snow Edelweiss

I received an email from one of the readers of this blog that lives in Japan who goes by the handle name “kiti”.   He was kind enough to share this image.  It appears to be a Chimera of  Snow Edelweiss.  The image is below.

Snow Chimera

 

Just as reference as you may not be familiar with Snow Edelweiss and I did not have an image of it,  just click here to see what Snow Edelweiss looks like.  I am not 100% sure it is a chimera.  It has the typical pinwheel rays originating from the center of the bloom and it has lost most of the white in the original.  Kiti described the original as white pansies with pink patches, blue fantasy. But this is what bloomed.   Also Kiti noted some very warm days prior to the bloom and as we all know temperature can affect the bloom.  But I think there is more going on here.  I think Kiti has a new chimera.  Also as a footnote,  like all of us that grow African violets we usually grow other plants.   Check out this blog of Kiti. If you want to see an expert rose blog here is one.