Saintpaulia

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Related to Saintpaulia ionantha: African violet

Saintpaulia

 

a genus of perennial herbs of the family Ges-neriaceae. The plants generally have a short, sometimes spreading stem and rosettes of succulent, downy, rounded leaves. The flowers are in dichasial inflorescences. The perianth is five-parted, and the calyx is symphyllous. The large corolla, which has a short tube, is violet, purple, pink, or white. The ovary is hairy. The fruit is an elongate capsule with tiny seeds.

There are about 12 species, distributed mainly in the mountain forests in tropical East Africa. The African violet (S. ionantha) grows in Tanzania. Saintpaulia was first cultivated in Europe at the end of the 19th century and soon became a popular house plant. Flowering may occur almost year-round. The plants are easily propagated from leaf cuttings.