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 then appealing for me.  As with Shimai, you can observe green stripes on a 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.

Nothing To Do About Chimera African Violets (Eclipse)


 

Last month (Aug 21st), I went to Gallatin Tennessee to observe the total eclipse of the sun.  As this post has nothing to do with chimera African violets, people that grow African violets, generally speaking, have a respect for nature and general interest in it.  Hence this post.  I took this photo with no filter using a 1000 MM lens.  I hope to experience this most amazing sight at least one more time.  It was truly remarkable. (Click on the image to enlarge it).

Propagation Of A Chimera African Violet With A Potato? (part 2)

So last months post was a semi-serious try at producing chimera African violets from stems using a potato (as I was inspired or made a fool of by YouTube videos.  Well one month into this odd  odd experiment, only 1 of the 8 stems died  as is evident from this image.  So I opened the bag for the first time in a month and using 90% ETOH and a paper towel cleaned out the one dead stem and inspected the potato with the flower stems.  

Perhaps not the best photos but “B” and “C” in the above images have very small plantlets forming.  Yes this is actually working despite my disbelief and my belief that by next month all the stems will be dead.  

So after I inspected the potato and stems I returned the potato back into the bag and sealed it again.  Lets see what happens in the next 30 days.  I cannot believe I have gotten this far with this rather unusual experiment.

Propagation Of A Chimera African Violet With A Potato?

Perhaps this is one of the more odd posts I have done on this site, or maybe experimenter I have done in an effort to propagate a chimera Africa violet.  The inspiration  (if you want to call it that), comes from watching numerous (perhaps too many) YouTube videos on propagation of roses, zinnias, fruit trees, (you name it) and a variety of other perennials using a potato.  That’s right,  a potato!  Despite the myriad of such videos showing how to set it all up, I have never seen a follow through video showing you a well rooted cutting ready for transplanting  months after the original video.  So that missing piece alone tells me that more then a little skepticism surrounds this experiment.  But in all honesty these are the ones that are most fun.  So lets begin.

As we already discussed in earlier blogs we can use only flower stems or suckers to produce true chimera African violets.  In this case I am using flower stems produced from Neptune’s Treasure, from last months post.  And instead of using soil, we will be inserting it into a Potato.  I started by taking a fresh potato.  Fresh being defined as a firm non-soft of wrinkled potato.

Next I washed a 1/8 inch drill bit and dried it with a clean paper towel.  The diameter of the drill bit you will use should equal the diameter of the stem of the flower stem.  Then using 91% ethanol I soaked the bit for 1 min.  Attached the drill bit to the drill (without touching the part that will cut into the potato) and allowed the ethanol on the bit to dry by evaporation.   I then wiped with ethanol the area on the potato I will be making the holes.  Again allowing it to dry by evaporation.   Drill down only 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch deep.

I then drilled one hole for every stem I will be inserting into the potato.  In this case it is 9 holed as I have 9 stems.  The flower stems are mature in that they have fully bloomed.  I have used this type of flower stem in tissue cultures with considerable success so will use them here.   Four of the flower stems I dip the end into “Clonex” rooting solution and the other four I use no rooting media at all.  On the ninth stem I dipped it into water.  Sort of a control to a degree to the “Clonex”.  The stems are then inserted into the potato.

This is an image of how it looked after the process was completed.  I will now insert the entire potato with inserted stems into a bag to prevent dehydration (below image).

I will watch it carefully for signs of any mold growth.  And unlike the YouTube videos where there is never any follow up, you will see it here, for better or worse (I suspect worse).  I will post it.