Chimera African Violets Suspended and Protected

As mentioned a number of times, starting in 2014 most of the collection of chimera African violets I had were destroyed by an infection of  Phytophthora.   It was fast and by the time, I identified the issue 75%+ of my plants were destroyed or I needed to destroy them as they were beyond salvaging.  Despite various fungal treatments which proved at best marginally effective until I used Dithane M-45, I had a small number of chimera African violets with plastic bags over them as they were just out of tissue culture and were just starting to root.  The infestation was in two waves over a 2 year period.  Just when I thought the infection was done a second wave hit.  It was to the point that the only plants I was able to salvage were those in the test tubes producing new plants and the Neptune’s Treasure which seemed rather resistant and very resilient along with the few “bagged” plants.  Fast forward 3 years and the collection is healthy, disease free and growing and blooming and many of my previous practice have changed.   But I want to focus on the plants in bags which included Concord, Yakako, Party Fun and Blue Confetti.   They were tiny plants in bags, transferred from a sterile environment, placed in a plastic bag, isolated from insects or air currents that would carry the fungal spores.     The bags were never pulled off the plants for now 3 years.  I recently started doing that.  So as I processed the plant “Party Fun”, I took pictures.  

This plant has been under this bag for 3 years now.  Never flowered.  It has grown from a tiny plantlet produced Dec 2014.  When it was watered (every few months) it was by way of the wick method.

Bag finally removed to reveal a plant with a long weak stem.  The two images above are the same plant just rotated.  

The plant broke nicely into three parts.

I took each of the 3 parts, removed the leaves and then cut the stem to 1/2 of what you see here.

I then placed in a 2 oz plastic cup to get established.  I am hoping in December or January there will be some initial blooms on this plant and hopefully they will be true to the parent.  I will post the outcome regardless.

 

Abnormal Mauna Loa Blooms Again!

Back in Sept of 2016 I wrote this blog.   Exactly 2 years later what do I see, abnormal blooms on the Mauna Loa.  This time they look more normal than the oddly shaped spiked petals.

But in all cases, it looks like a petal is missing.   So why?  Is it the genetics of the specific Mauna Loa I have and I propagate from or is it purely environmental?

I am baffled. You can click on the images to enlarge them.

Chimera African Violet Sweet-Which is really Sweet?

When propagating Chimera African violets, on occasion I notice that the leaf color is different.  100% of the time it is an indication of a sport that will not be true to the parent plant.  In this case, I did stem culture on “Sweet” (one of my favorites) with the goal of producing more “Sweet” chimera African violets. As the plant increased in size the difference in leaf color was observed.  Plant A has a lighter leaf color and Plant B has a darker leaf color.   I am taking this photograph and writing this on 2018/6/23.  As I cannot remember if “Sweet” has darker leaves (I believe it does) or not, I am not certain which will bloom true.  At the time of this writing, both are forming bloom stalks.  I am assuming one will be all pink or all white blooms.  We shall see.  Once the plants bloom I will take some photos and post below.  The takeaway is a change in leaf color is the first indication that the chimera African violet will most likely not be true.  (Click on any of the images to enlarge).

      ************And the results are in!  2018/07/31************   

As is evident in the above images, the light green leaved plant produced pure white flowers, and the darker foliage plant produced the normal chimera Sweet.

 

Neptune’s Treasure and Being a Bad Sport

As we write and talk about “sports” in chimera African violets as being a genetic variant to the parent, I could not resist the title.   On the rare occasion, one of my chimera African violets will sport.  Either the entire plant or a flower stem.  In this case, I have a flower stem sport.  As you see this is Neptune’s Treasure.  The bloom on the right of the below image is normal and was the first to bloom.  But looking at the buds on the second bloom stalk I noticed that it was going to be different.  And sure enough, it was not an acceptable bloom and the stalk had mutated.

If you click on the image below it will enlarge the image so you can see how the typical blue/white pinwheel effect is not clean at all.  With blue in the white, borders not delineated, this is not acceptable.

If you look at the bud “A” of this mutated flower stalk you will see it is darker and you cannot easily make out the white and blue stripes as is illustrated in the last image.

Compare flower bud “B” below with “A” above.  Without the full bloom, you know something is not right with this chimera.  This is the heart of less subtle changes, for example with Concord.  The white margins in some of the commercial offerings of Concord are much smaller than the original “Concord” from years ago.  That is why with chimera African violets, not a plant should be sold, traded or exchanged until the producer knows if, in fact, the bloom is true.  

 

Another Sport of Shimai

These images come from Betty Neuenschwander who is the owner of this sport of Shimai.

No indication of any other color other then the white bloom with the strong green edge.

 

Shimai Sport (Update from March 2017)

Last March I posted a very nice photo on a sport of Shimai.  This is the link to that post.  The above and below photographs are an update that comes from Elizabeth Shaffer.  Now the sport has produced suckers. (below)

It will be most interesting to see if in fact the suckers of this sport demonstrate the same bloom as above.  I suspect it will.

When three generations have demonstrated that the same flower and plant characteristics are consistently maintained (stable) it can be registered with AVSA as a new chimera.  I wonder what Elizabeth will name it?

 

Chimera African Violets on Facebook

As I was look through the web for interesting chimera African violet articles or posts, I stumbled on a facebook group I was unaware of.  Their name is chimera African violet group .  The group was started February 5th 2014 by Дженнер Восемь. When you click on this link,  you will see some of the most amazing photographs of chimera African violets and the number of different ones is stunning.    You do not need to be a member of Facebook to examine all the pictures.  Just click on the link provided above “chimera African violet group”.   One image set I came across was a great side-by-side shot of a Yukako and Shimai.  If you are not aware, Shimai is a sport of Yukako. 

This link is to the page of the above image, just click here.  These are two excellent images.  The author and owner of the images are 傅淑華  

Timelapse From Leaf Cutting to Blooming Plant


One of the best timelapse I have seen on YouTube using African violets as the subject.  It goes from a cutting to rooting the cutting, to plantlets, to bloom.  Make sure you click on “CC” or “Closed Caption” to get added details about what you are  seeing.

Chimera African Violet The Face of Blue Confetti

Take a look at the chimera African violet desktop icon I made (above).  Do you see the face?  Totally unexpected.  Below is the image of the photo that I used to make the desktop icon.  Amazing what one can see that really does not exist.

Also below is a better image of Blue Confetti chimera African violet.  It is really a unique bloom.  Click on the image below to enlarge.

Other images of Blue Confetti can be seen here.

 

Shimai Variant? Part 2-Tissue Culture

I wanted to post a  photo I took of the stem culture from last months blog on the Shimai variant plus the concurrent stem I took of the standard Shimai.

The test tube on the left is the variant  (or the suspected variant) and the tube to the right is the standard Shimai.  You can see the plantlet forming just above the junction of where the leaves of the flower stem meet the flower stem. (You can click on the image to enlarge.) The standard Shimai plantlet appears to be growing far faster and appears rather robust (B) as compared to the first tube where the plantlet is just starting to take shape (A).  But it is very early and we have another 1-2 months in culture and another 5 months in a pot before the plants will be ready to flower and reveal the answer.   We shall see.

Also I found on the web a 7 page summary  on African violets from how they are described, some nomenclature, about soil types best for growing and how to make them, insect pests and on and on.  I think it is one of the most concise and comprehensive summaries out there.Give it a look.  Click Here.  It can also be found on the far right column under “General Educational Information” and at the bottom of that category you will see “~African Violets Missouri Botanical Gardens”.  Just click on it to be taken to the paper.

Shimai Variant?

One of my Shimai plants bloomed for the first time today.  Only one bloom stalk and only 2 blooms.  I happen to be setting up some tissue cultures today and removed the stalk to propagate.  I should have taken a photo when it was on the plant.  After I pulled the stalk and blooms I took a sheet of paper and photographed the image with the paper as the background.  The bloom came out true to color but the background was less than appealing for me.  As with Shimai, you can observe green stripes on white petals.  But what is different, purple runs through the green stripe and the slight purple edging on Shimai is a bit bolder and noticeable on this bloom.   Concurrent with this bloom was another standard Shimai blooming (nice green stripes only).  So I set that one up in tissue culture also.  Now I have them both in culture.  We will know in about 8-10 months if in fact the above image is a true variant of the color or as I suspect, in some cases, a variant in color is due to environmental factors.  This point opens up an interesting discussion as how much are the characteristics of a bloom impacted by, soil moisture, humidity, light intensity, length of light duration and temperature, specifically in African violets.  I have no answers on this point, just questions.

Pythium or Phytophthora?

Pythium or Phytophthora?  Does it really make a difference?  The outcome is the same, loss of the plant.   I recently purchased three different chimera African violets from a reputable seller on e-bay.  I have purchased other plants from this grower in the past and the plants were healthy, disease free and grew well.  But since I lost about 3/4 of my collection to Pythium or Phytophthora about one and a half years ago, I have started isolating the new plants for at least 4-8 weeks from the rest of the collection to assure no issues insects or disease was spread to the collection if the  newly acquired plants were infected.  Well guess what?”  About three weeks after I unwrapped my new plants and place them in the isolation area and all seemed to be going well, I removed the flower stems for propagation (they were all flowering).  I prepared the culture tubes, sterilized the stems and set them up in the culture tubes.  Within 5 days ALL the flower stems of one of the plants (Neptune’s Thunder) were covered in a fungus.  None of my other stems were impacted and seemed fine.  Subsequently the other stems went on to form plantlets.  Now I figured no problem with Neptune’s Thunder as there will be other flower stems from this plant.  A week later I noticed some of the outer leaves were drooping.  I took a closer look.  I cut them off at the base and  observed the below.  Notice the base of the stem which is blackish/brownish in color and the area that is discolored was soft. (All images below can be enlarged by clicking on them).

Pythium or Phytophthora or some other fungus?  I do not know and what difference did it make?  Below is the plant right after I took the leaves off.  Note the circled area and the darkened stens although the plant looks like it can be saved.  I immediately treated it with a fungicide. 

The below image is the outcome just 5 days later!

Yes the plant is lost.  But I am so glad I kept these plants in isolation.  But an interesting consideration was that perhaps the reason I lost all the tissues cultures on this plant (Neptune’s Thunder)(Click on link to see image) was that systemically the plant was already infected.  The disinfection that occurred is only on the surface and not internal.   To end this month on a positive note one of three plants in this batch was a Yachiyo and continued to grow and bloom during this entire period. 

Propagation Of A Chimera African Violet With A Potato? (part 4-Conclusion)

As you can see in the above photographs NONE of the seven chimera African violet flower stems survived or will survive to produce a plantlet.   The entire experiment ran from the 4th week in July to the 4th week in October.  The one thing that stood out was that the stems with no plant hormone lasted 1 to 2.5 months longer then the stems that were dipped in plant rooting hormone.  Actually all four of those that were exposed to a rooting hormone died the fastest.   Those that were not exposed to the rooting hormone, in reality, looked promising into the second month.   Actually I held out a little hope (just a little) in the 2nd month.  But this month (month 3) the remaining stems deteriorated quickly making it clear that this experiment did not work and no plantlets will be developing.

So lets end  this three month experiment that did not work with a nice Kilauea, I am referring to the below image and not the drink.  Click on the image below to enlarge it.

Propagation Of A Chimera African Violet With A Potato? (part 3)

After 2 full months of this experiment (and maintaining the orientation of this potato and the stem cuttings), you will notice 3 of the 4 stems in the front row have all died off and totally succumb.   Interesting to note stems that were in point A, B, C and D were all dipped 1st into Clonex rooting hormone.  The four stems in the back row did not have any rooting hormone, they had nothing.  The stem in the E position also had no hormone prep.

The next stem cutting to succumb will most likly be E.  Unfortunately it looks like it has some bud formation in the area indicative of producing a new plant.   And if you look closely,  as you can see in the image above, the fungus around the stem is overwhelming.   In  a few of the other stems there is some very preliminary bud formation also.  At this point the biggest takeaway,  if I was to repeat this experiment is to not use any rooting hormone supplement and to have cleaned the potato and the stems in 10% clorox prior to starting this experiment.