Not A Chimera African Violet!

This month’s theme is “Not A Chimera”.    Earlier this year I was looking to purchase Rob’s Mirriwinni.  I found a site on eBay that was selling one.  The picture on eBay of what the bloom looked like was correct but was a picture of the parent plant, not the plant for sale.  I purchased the young plant. Well after a few months it bloomed.  And bloomed some more and the below image is what ALL the blooms looked like.   

Not Rob’s Mirriwinni

For reference (below), this is what the blooms should look like.

Rob’s Mirriwinni

I contacted (e-mailed) the seller and asked a simple question with choices.  Was the plant I purchased propagated from a sucker, a stem or a leaf?  The response was immediate and direct.  The response read…” from a leaf cutting”.  Well as we know you can NEVER, EVER produce any chimera from a leaf cutting.  I will not be doing any further business with that propagator. And maybe I need to start asking the propagation method question before I place a bid.

Now regarding an unrelated plant, I saw (Vat Car Goroh). This plant caught my attention and I thought immediately, this must be a chimera.  But it is not.   It is a standard African violet.  It is a beautiful plant with variegated leaves and many of the blooms look like this.  I actually propagated this plant (below) by a leaf cutting.

Vat-Car Goroh

Neptune’s Jewels~ A Sport of It

Sport of Neptune’s Jewels

In the process of doing tissue culture to produce some chimera African violets, I noticed an actively growing tissue callus on the stem. It produced a small plant. I knew it was not going to be a chimera as only plantlets produced in the apical meristem region will produce a true chimera African violet. But I was curious as to what the bloom would look like of this strongly growing plantlet coming out of this callus tissue. The plant bloomed and the image is above. What is so stunning to me, was this bloom is nearly identical to a sport of Neptune’s Jewels that formed in late 2015, which I liked but died before I could reproduce it. The size of the bloom is the same although the number of spots seems a bit less. This is actually the link to the post I made in 2016 when the original sport bloomed. Click Here

Well now I have the same question I had back then. 1) is it a chimera or not? So I will propagate this by both stem and leaf cutting. If it blooms as in the picture above from leaf and stem propagation, it is NOT a chimera. But if it blooms true only via stem propagation then it very well may be a new chimera. We shall see.

A Double Chimera African Violet?

Yukako is an outstanding plant with its purple blooms and distinct green stripes. The leaves are medium green, plain to slightly quilted. Now that said below is a Yukako that I removed as a sucker from a nice mature plant blooming true. Initially, the leaves were standard and it looked like it would be a standard Yukako. Then I noticed the crow leaves it was producing was not standard for Yakako. In a few months, the below plant developed. Note the chimera leaves.

Yakako plant with mutated chimera leaves

The underside of the leaves shows the red edges associated with the dark green upper part or top of the leaves.

Underside of the chimera leaf

An interesting point to note is that at the base of the plant is growing the last original green leaf that was part of the non-chimera leaves prior to the mutation occurring.

At the time of the writing of this blog, early May, there was a bloom stalk forming. Now what I am very curious about is what will the bloom look like? Will it be a standard Yukako bloom? Will it be different but still a chimera bloom? Or will the flower structure revert back to a normal African violet?
We will see. My prediction is that the bloom will, with a high probability, be different as I see this all the time with chimera African violets. The leaf is lighter green or darker green than the original chimera plant and the bloom characteristics change, usually losing the chimerism. But not always. ————–Just prior to posting the plant bloomed—————————————

Well, I am unsure if this is the bloom of a chimera. I suspect it is not but I do see darker purple stripes. If it is the result of chimerism remains to be seen. At this point propagation of leaves and flower stem will tell the story if this is leaf chimerism with bloom chimerism, or the bloom is not chimerism. I suspect the flowers are not. Results to follow.

Is this bloom typical of a Chimera?

Party Fun is Back (the chimera African violet that is).

Hybridizer Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses

In conclusion to the post I made in Oct 2018 where I removed from a bag the chimera African violet “Part Fun”, the three plants depicted all doing well. One plant is in bud, one plant has bloomed (above) and the smallest is just growing at this point. The above is the first bloom of the plant. Click on the image to enlarge it. To review the past blog that has resulted in the saving of this and other plants plant from the ravages of a fungal infection just click here.

Also as a footnote, the patterns of Party Fun are NEVER the same. This image was taken from the same plant, just another adjacent bloom. One petal is completely purple here.

Yachiyo Tabata or (Blue)

Yachiyo Tabata Bloom #1
Yachiyo Tabata Bloom #2
Yachiyo Tabata Bloom #3

Yachiyo Tabata is an amazing chimera African violet. Each bloom is different. If you looked at 100 blooms each would be a little different then the other as you can see in the first two images. The variability of the blue blotches and streaks and on occasion there near absence on some blooms are as variable as snowflakes. No two are ever the same regardless if the blooms are from the same plant concurrently or from different Yachiyo Tabata plants. Now the interesting part. The above images are all Yachiyo Tabata all taken as suckers from the same plant. But as you can see on bloom #3, it is all blue. And in fact, every single bloom on this plant is blue with no hint of pink! This plant apparently sported. Now that said there is on the market a Yachiyo Blue. I have owned them in the past and on Google Images you can see images of those that I and others have posted in the past (the link will take you to the images). Those images are phenotypically identical to the above bloom #3. So the questions are, did Yachiyo Blue originate from Yachiyo Tabata? Or did Tabata sport from Yachiyo Blue? Which came first? As these plants are not part of the AVSA database there is no history to address these questions.

African Violet Powdery Mildew

Click on image to read and see the details.

Winter time for the growing of African violets presents a unique problem of Powdery Mildew. Why? In a recent and always informative newsletter “Growing Tips” this topic was discussed. Specifically, according to the author of the article, the issue is that the temperature of the leaves lags behind the temperature of the air. When we grow in colder climates this effect is more pronounced during the winter months. It starts during the day when the temperature in the growing areas will increase. Not just in general terms of typical daytime temperature increases, but with the added impact of the heat generated by the grow lights. The growing area is generally warmer during the day. As warmer air will extract and retain more moisture, in the evenings the temperatures will cool and as the leaves lag behind the room temperature decrease and are a bit warmer than the air temperature, water will then condense on the warmer leaves. This is an excellent environment for the growth of Powdery Mildew. So how do we address this issue?

There are several options. 1) The use of Spectracide Immunox. 2) If you want to avoid chemical treatments I presented a method I used several years ago using diluted Clorox.
Click here to see how you can eradicate powdery mildew on infected plants in 10 minutes.

3) The best option is to avoid this problem in the first place! The question is then how? Well the only way to eliminate the risk is to remove the spores that travel in the air. And what the author of this article did was use a small electrostatic air cleaner that also had a UVC lamp that sterilized the air. The author stated that he saw no powdery mildew on his plants while last year he did see a small amount.  

The following link allows you access to this excellent and FREE newsletter “Growing Tips”. Just click on the link and start enjoying this helpful African violet e-mail. AVSA Growing Tips and Tricks

Sport Of Granger Sugar Frost

Historically, I have seen some of the chimera cultivars sport with more frequency than others.  One that has always been stable for me, as I have propagated many from stems is Sugar Frost as seen below.

I recently produced 6 plants using a tissue culture stem propagation technique. What was so atypical is that of the 6 plants produced, 3 plants from that batch sported. Initially, those 3 that sported looked perfectly normal as they all grew their first set of leaves with the light green color (standard in Sugar Frost leaves) on both top and bottom (first rosette of leaves) [Leaves “A”].  But on all second rosettes of the 3 that sported the leaves were darker in color on the top and the underside of the leaves, which are normally 100% green, had red blotches [Leaves “B”] on the underside of the leaf.  The next rosette of leaves, the underside was uniformly dark red and the top of the leaf retained the dark green appearance [Leaves “C”].  Images are seen below.

Seeing the red leaf color is totally atypical in Sugar Frost, which indicating to me that the blooms would not be true to the parent plant as reflected in the top image.  Below is an image of the bloom which just opened up.  

As mentioned above, I had 3 such sports all appeared concurrently with the last batch of Sugar Frost that was produced.   Makes we wonder if this was pure coincidence or there was some environmental or chemical stimulus I inadvertently exposed them to that caused this to happen.  The other two plants had flowers and are exactly as the image above. Also, click the following link to see an up to date collection of images I have made of chimeras and the sports they produced. Gone Wrong Sports Ver 3.pdf

Ford’s Pinwheel Revisted

About 2 years ago my collection was devastated by a fungus. Of those that survived was a single Ford’s Pinwheel (J. Ford). So I repotted and it grew. It grew like none of the other chimera African violets. Frankly, it did not bloom but sent out suckers like you would not believe. I never saw anything like it. I had over a dozen suckers in 2 months and I started to wonder if the suckers would be true to the parent. The suckers just kept coming instead of the blooms and I just kept repotting them. Finally, the parent plant started blooming as well as the suckers. All the suckers were totally true to the parent plant. In fact, the blooms were large and as chimera African violet blooms do, they will over time fade with age. This is not the case with Ford’s Pinwheel blooms. The blooms actually darken with time as is evident on the image below. The bloom to the right bottom is the oldest (over one month and is the darkest while the youngest (front and center bloom) is the youngest and lightest. I now have an abundance of healthy, blooming true Ford’s Pinwheels ready to be given as gifts, for trading, and for sale come this spring. On this image, I went out of my way with the lighting to make sure I captured the true color and I believe I captured that.

The image above may appear a bit distorted, but click on it and you will get the correct perspective.

Conclusion to Chimera African Violet Shimai Experiment

January of 2018 I posted this blog  Click here.

Then in February, as the stem cultures started to grow I added this Click here.

I am attaching that image posted in February 2018 below.

The Shimai plantlet listed as “B” which was from the stem of a typical green striped Shimai from February 2018 and is now a flowering plant and is below.  As expected it is a normal Shimai.

PLANT B (Above)

The slower growing plantlet listed as “A” in the top image was the stem that produced the bloom as Illustrated here.   The outcome is a bit different then Plant B. 

PLANT A (Above)

The most noticeable difference is the purple strip going through the center green stripe.  If you compare to the original bloom on the variant stem, this bloom lacks the purple edges on the petals but other then that the bloom is the same (plus the photo on Jan 2018 was terrible from bad lighting to focus).  My next step is to select from this plant the flower stems demonstrating the most intense purple green stripe as there is a little variability among the blooms on the plant.  But the plant essentially did bloom true.   If I can selectively produce a bloom with a bit more homogenous purple green stripes and have that produce true to these characteristics, we may have a new sport of Shimai.  All the characteristics of leaf color, texture, size and so forth are identical to the standard Shimai listed as plant B.  The only difference is purple stripes instead of green.   If you click on the images they will enlarge.  More to follow.


Yachiyo Tabata

I have grown the chimera African violet, Yachiyo Tabata in the past.  This very robust plant sends off these exceptional blooms of semidouble-single star bloom with pink/purple fantasy streaks with white stripes. This chimera has medium green leaves.  What caught my attention with one of the bloom stalks of the Yachiyo is that the pink edging on the petals was a bit wider and a bit more color intensity than the other Yachiyo Tabata (compare above with below).  So the bloom stalk of the below plant will be removed and cultured.  We shall see if in fact a strain of Yachiyo with a bit more intense pink can be produced.


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.