Mice Eat African Violets!

Grangers’ Red and White Strip

I have been growing African violets for about 40 years. One of the oldest plants I had with me, perhaps the last 30 years has been Granger Red and White Strip. I learned to propagate chimera African violets using tissue culture methods with this hybrid, and as I moved from one state to another to a new job, I made sure this was part of the collection I would bring. I currently had only this one plant of Granger Red and White, it was health and growing. I really enjoyed it and it was important to me. Then the other day I went down to the basement of my home (where I grow my violets) and found this! (image below) Click on the images to enlarge.

What I found

The Grangers’ Red and White Stripe was in pot (A). Pot (B) and (C) had two other chimeras and were spaced further apart. All 3 plants were in a white plant tray on the 3rd level of a growing shelf that was about 5 feet off the ground. The plants were totally gone only some leaves were found in the tray. As I typically check on my violets once ever 2 to 3 days, and based on the amount of curl of the leaf debris I expect this occurred 3 days prior. The plants were gone down to the soil. But roots were still there indicating they were perhaps eaten, stem and all, down to the soil-line of the pot. This was really upsetting to me. I will probably never be able to replace it. I lost it forever. I noticed with the spilled soil from the knocked over pot there appeared to be mouse droppings (Arrows point to some of them). Do mice eat African violets?

I was totally unaware if mice or some other creature eats African violets. I was also very frustrated with the concept that there were mice in the house. I initially just assumed mice did this damage as the droppings and the quantity of mice droppings inside this plant tray (arrows).

I then started a web search to find out if in-fact mice eat African violets. To my surprise there were not many articles on this. Actually only found 4 articles and the links are below. After a week of mouse traps and close surveillance including putting one trap in the plant tray where the Granger Red and White was, I was able to remove 4 mice. The traps are now are vacant and I am assuming I got them all. But will keep a few traps going for the next month just to make sure.

Below are the links I found:

https://www.optimara.com/doctoroptimara/diagnosis/mice.html

https://www.houzz.com/discussions/1658933/mystery-animal-eating-my-african-violet

https://www.violetbarn.com/blog/best-of-violetsfun/more-of-mice-and-men/

https://thegrowingleaf.com/do-mice-eat-african-violets/

As you will see in the links above, mice do eat African violets (leaves and stems), apparently they enjoy eating the ones I enjoy growing the most. As you will see from the above links, African violets are listed as a non-poisonous plant, according to the National Capital Poison Center: Poison Control – Washington. Also African violets do not appear toxic to either dogs or cats, hence one can assume it is not toxic to mice. Over the decades I have had my plants attacked by fungus, bacteria. I guess I need to add mice to the list.

A Possible Leaf Chimera?

Below are three leaves of a sport of Humako Sweet. Actually all the leaves reflect this pattern. Does this pattern remind you of anything?

Leaf 1
Leaf 2
Leaf 3

Does the darker chloroplast seem to form an image of a maple leaf? At least that is what it looks like to me. This is a small plant. I was propagating Humako Sweet and I noticed one of the plants had a dark center. As the plant grew (all be it slowly) every single leaf produced the same or nearly the same configuration of dark and light chlorophyll. Some were more exact to the maple leaf like image 1 and 2 and some of the leaves looked like the image of “Leaf 3″.” I started to wonder if in fact this is not a variegation but a true chimera leaf. I have not propagated any plants yet from this parent plant. As I said it is a slow grower. It has bloomed and I was hoping for a chimera bloom but that did not occur. Small white flowers did appear. The next blooming I will remove the peduncles and do tissue culture to see if I can propagate this plant and what outcomes are obtained. Perhaps our Canadian African violet friends may like this one. Click on the imaged to enlarge.

Granger‘s Sugar Frost (A Vintage Chimera)

Granger‘s Sugar Frost Chimera African Violet

There are now so many interesting chimera African violets, with some complex coloration and color patterns. I do miss some of the vintage chimeras that have been out for a long time. One of them which will have been registered for 30 years come 1/15/23 (as noted in AVSA “First Class”Reg#7846 1/15/1993). is Granger‘s Sugar Frost. The hybridizer is Eyerdom.

It is just a simple single chimera pink star with a white strip with raspberry sparkle in the pink part of the bloom. The leaves are a light green with plan glossy foliage. Rare do I see this plant offered. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Kilauea: A Vintage Chimera African Violet

Kilauea

 I have come to notice that the old standards are seen less and less and increasingly more difficult to find. Kilauea is one of them. Hybridizer is Eyerdom (Reg# 6808 1/15/1988) this chimera plant is a perfect example of the “vintage” chimera African violets. Simple in bloom structure and pattern yet distinct and complex in that the pink and purple pattern, like snowflakes, vary from bloom to bloom. Never the same.

It should also be noted that the blooms of Kilauea are very 3 dimensional (as in the above picture). The bottom petal sticks out about 30 degrees from the rest of the bloom into a different plane. The two side petals are flat and 90 degrees to the ground and the two top petals are forward about 10 degrees. So it takes a little effort to photograph them so the image is reasonable.

Slight Variant of Shimai Bloom?

As I propagate more Shimai and observed the first flowering, I had one that had bloomed with a bit of purple in the blooms. Not what I was looking for but re-potted and put it in the north window. Months later as the plant matured I noticed it bloomed heavily but any trace of strong purple in the blooms was gone. When I looked closely (very closely) I noticed the green stripes were a bit darker as compared to a typical Shimai (below image).

Click on any of the images below to enlarge them.

Shimai Regular
Shimai Normal

The image below has the slight purple in the green stripes.

Shimai with slight purple to stripes

I circled and drew an arrow to point out the area I noticed as different. The traditional Shimai on the left has white in those thin margins that occur on occasion on the petals. Compare that to the plant on the left where the tiny margins are not white but a slight purple ting which may account for the slightly darker green stripes.

Another Sport Of Yakako

Sport of Yakako

This is a sport (above image) of Yakako. Far from the stunning green pinwheel stripes on the purple background as you can see in a normal bloom Yakako (below). Also notice the petals on this sport are longer and more pronounced. But most striking, at least to me is the black edges on the bloom. If this is a chimera bloom or not is yet to be ascertained. Over the next several months I will propagate using both tissue culture and leaf cuttings to produce more plants that will determine if the bloom is a chimera or not. The colors (purple and black ) does depict the actual color of the blooms on the plant. It took me a couple of days to figure out how to actually photograph the bloom to capture their true color. The leaves are a VERY dark green and the underside of the leaf is solid red.

Yakako

Yachiyo Tabata Sport F3 Appears Stable

Yachiyo tabata sport (image on right) has now undergone three generations and appears genetically stable. It is interesting that the original Yachiyo tabata (image on left) with its pink and purple and fantasy edges appears to have migrated in the sport as the center stripe of the sport. Also the centers on the original Yachiyo which are white are now the white edges on the Yachiyo sport. Click on the images to enlarge.

8E Danse Macabre; A Beautiful and Most Challenging Chimera African Violet

Click on image to enlarge

For the last 5 years I have been trying to propagate 8E Danse Macabre using my standard tissue culture technique which has been successful on any chimera African violet I have tried. To date I have propagated a total of “one” plant. Yes this is an unusual and stubborn hybrid (for me). Initially when I first obtained it, it seemed to grow a bit slower then most under the artificial fluorescent lighting I used. Over time I learned it seemed to do best with natural light and in the east window where in can get a bit of direct morning sunlight for an hour or so in the summer. Now that it is growing well and in a pot a bit larger then the other African violets, it is blooming nicely. I then use the flower stems in my tissue culture media to stimulate the peduncle to grow a tiny plantlet. And here is where the challenge has been for me. The peduncle just does not seem to be stimulate with the plant hormones (content and concentration) that the other chimera peduncles grow at. So I will continue to tinker with this to find what is needed. In the mean time I will continue enjoy its exceptional blooms.

New Concord & Standard Concord Compared

As you may be aware you can purchase on eBay a plant called “New Concord”. It is not a registered African violet with AVSA yet. The difference is seen in the images below with the New Concord bloom and leaf on the left and the standard Concord images on the right.

Referring to a post I made on March 1st 2014, (https://chimeraav.com/flowering/when-is-a-chimera-concord-not-a-chimera-concord/), I calculated the white to purple area of a good standard Concord to some of the substandard Concords being sold. Using the same methodology I wanted to compare the classic Concord white to purple ratio to the New Concord.

Results: The New Concord had 62.3% purple pigment and 37.7% white pigment in its bloom as compared to the standard registered Concord that had 74.1% purple pigment and 25.9% white pigment in a typical bloom. So the new concord has 11.8% less purple or 11.8% more white pigmentation. Also interesting to note is the red pigmentation in the underside of the leaf (I believe it is called anthocyanin) of the standard Concord is totally absent in the New Concord leaf.

Chimera African Violet, When a Sport Will Not Stop Sporting.

A number of months ago I posted this image of a sport of Shimai (below). I was excited as I liked the narrow dark coloration of the stripes on the pure white background.

Shimai Sport

But following African Violet Society of America (AVSA) protocol I wanted to get 3 consecutive generations that reproduced identically to demonstrate genetic stability and proof of a new variant. Well I have not been able to do that. In fact on one plant I have all these different bloom color combinations. Below is a sampling of what is blooming on the same plant.

Below is a over view (literally) of the African violet plant.

Sport Of A Sport+

To say the plant from a flower blooming color perspective is not stable is an understatement. But in the end the requirement of 3 generation of consistency being required to verify a new variant has proved its value. And as all this was occurring I had a very nice bloom of a Yakako which is the plant Shimai sported from and the top image of this post sported from Shimai. So I will end this entry with the bloom that started it all.

Yakako

Click on any of the images to enlarge.

Can A Chimera African Violet Bloom Reverse Itself?

Perhaps the question in the title needs some clarification. In chimera blooms using Concord for example, can the plant mutate such that the purple turns white and the white turns purple and the ratios of the colors switch to remain constant o the original. The result is a chimera bloom where the color are reversed and the reversed colors are proportional to the original. The Concord image below was taken about a year ago and is the parent plant to the sport on the second image below.

I wondered if this was possible and assumed it was rather unlike to happen or at least I would never see it. But not impossible. I was growing a small batch of 6 young Concords from my tissue culture method. I was waiting for them to bloom, and they started. The first one which was growing with the most vigor bloomed all purple which for me is a common occurrence when they sport. Then four others bloomed all normally and are nice Concords. The sixth one was taking a little longer to bloom and I noticed when the buds started to form that they appeared to be all white. As they developed I noticed a little purple on the edgers so I just waited that then one morning the bloom opened up. The image is below.

Click on image to enlarge

It is a chimera that had the reverse colors of the Concords that I was growing! I know when you look at the two images the purple color may be off a little but that is a function the lighting and my lack of photographic skills. In real time when compared, the purple is the same color as the concord. So the answer to the title question is YES! A chimera bloom could reverse itself such that the colors are opposite and proportional in size to the parent plant. More about this plant in future posts.

A Possible Leaf Chimera Formed On Humako Sweet?

I am in the process of propagating some Humako Sweet Chimera African violets. I noticed one of the six plants growing from tissue culture had a different leaf color. Upon looking closer (and as the plant grew and produced more leaves)I observed the center of each leaf was always dark green and the edges were always a light green. Also a vague pattern seemed to form on the darker green portion of the leaf that is seen on every leaf. As the plant (leaf) grew the light green margins shrink but even in the oldest leaf it remained green leaf margins remain. Look closely at the dark green portion of each leaf. The pattern reminds me of a maple leaf.

Click on Image to Enlarge

The image below is of a sibling Humako Sweet taken from the same plant at the same time grown together with the above plantlet. The only difference it was taken from a different peduncle on the same parent plant. It has normal leaf color. I anticipate it to bloom as the other Humako Sweets have.

Click on Image to Enlarge

The photo below is of both these plantlets together. I believe the lighting is a bit better and the darker and lighter greens stand out. Now it is possible this is just a leaf variegation and not a chimera leaf? When the plantlet gets a bit bigger I will be propagating a few of its leaves to see what happens which will tell me if it is a true chimera leaf or a variegated leaf.

In a number of previous posts I have demonstrated a number of times how a change in leaf pigmentation and or structure had (with a high degree of predictability) a warning that the bloom will not be a chimera and will be lost as a chimera. I have a number of examples on this site. Most likely the bloom will be all white or all pink as has happened in the past. But what makes this time a little different is that I never seen the plant sport to a leaf like this. Time will tell. What I am curious about is if it would be possible for it to retain its chimera bloom concurrent to having a chimera leaf( If it truly is. A double chimera. Is that even possible? Time will tell.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Chimera Sport of Humako Sweet

The bloom of this chimera is white with pink stripes.  This is a standard Chimera with leaves that are dark green, are ovate and quilted. I very much enjoy this plant as the blooms are very consistent, never varying from the above image. What I noticed last month on one of the young plants blooming for the first time was the image below.

As you can see the bloom has green pigmentation on the upper edges of the petals. Also on the three bottom petals the pink stripes are not as solidly expressed specifically in the center of the petal. The leaves of the plant are as the non-sported plant, dark green, are ovate and quilted. I plan on taking the flower stem and using a tissue culture method attempt to propagate a plant or two to see if the genetic characteristics expressed in the picture are a new phenotype, creating a new chimera African violet. We shall see.

8E Danse Macabre Sport

As I mentioned in the June 2020 post the chimera African violet 8E Danse Macabre has always fascinated me, from the name of the plant to the various images you can find on the web and the variations of it. The first image below is of a plant some time ago. To the best of my knowledge, 8E Danse Macabre is not registered with the AVSA database called “First Class”. It for me has always been a bit of a challenge to grow. My opinion is it generally grows slower then my other chimeras, genetically less stable but never the less the blooms are always interesting. The second image below is of a recent sport.

8E Danse Macabre
Sport of 8E Danse Macabre

As you can see the purple is darker and less contained then the original above bloom. Purple violated the nice white margin areas that is seen in the original bloom. The blooms are large, averaging 5 cm (about 2 inches) per bloom. I do not know if in fact this is a stable bloom in that future blooms will come out tis way or just a freak atypical bloom and future blooms on this plant will appear in the more traditional 8E Danse Macabre format. I will try and tissue culture the flower stem and see if I can replicate this.