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.  $18 dollars later (too much to pay but I had to have it) I was the proud owner of this “special” Concord.

Upon receipt there were a few faded blooms.  I had to admit the flowers were generally smaller but the ratio of white to purple seemed a little less but I had to question my judgment which was probably bias by the $18.00 I spent.  Despite the fact that the flowers had faded, there were a number of healthy bloom stalks.  So I propagated them and was able to produce a number of new plants which bloomed and were true to the parent.

As they bloomed, plant after plant (I produced 5 plants from the stalks) it did seem that the white strip was smaller and not as white (image below).  The “special” Concord had a hint of purple in the white and generally had a smaller flowers.  But again it was my impression only.  I really wanted to quantify the difference and compare to the regular Concord Chimera.
Concord sp
After some consideration I decided to remove petals of each plant (Standard Concord and “special” Concord) from each plant, cut the white stripes off leaving the purple petal portions and the white petal portions.  Then to remove any variation as a result of being well watered or more on the dry side I allowed the cut petals to dry out for 30 days.  I then would weighed them on an analytical balance and be able to 1) discern by weight the ratio of white to purple between the two plants and figure out the size difference between the two different Concords.  Considering this would take 2 or 3 bloom cycles to obtain enough petals I though that would work out well since I was sampling different plants and different bloom cycles and I could monitor the variation between the sampling.   This link in red lists the data collected Single Chart.xlsx  
Using 61 blooms from the Standard Concord and 45 blooms from the Variant Concord, separating the white from purple and letting them dry and then weighing the following conclusions were obtained.
In the standard Concord bloom 74.09% was purple compared to 87.6% in the Variant Concord. Where as the Standard Concord bloom 25.9% was white compared to 12.40% white in the Variant Concord. 

  • Standard Concord has a little over 13% less purple and a little over 13% more white then the Variant Concord out on the market.  
  • Based on the total dry weight of each bloom the standard Concord bloom is almost 50% larger then the Variant Concord.

One Comment

  1. Diana Stickler
    Posted February 1, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I have a very old Concord. Purchased sometime back in the 1990s from L Lyon. It blooms constantly but it has a greater proportion of purple to white. I read a post somewhere that another grower experienced a decline in white strips overtime. I thought it was a culture or temperature issue. In any case, I’m still very happy with my Concord.

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