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by Alana & Nancy
When you first discover the world of African Violets, you may run across descriptions of blossom types and characteristics that you find puzzling. What is a geneva edge, for example? We have tried to answer these questions in the chart below.
Happy Harold - Single Pansy
Rob's Boogie Woogie -Semidouble Pansy
Island Coral - Double Pansy
All the original saintpaulia species have this plain type of single blossom.
The top 2 petals are smaller than the bottom 3 petals. The petals are rounded. The correct term for the petals is actually "lobes" because they are joined to each other at the base instead of being entirely separate as petals are.
This blossom shape is named for the garden Pansy because it looks very similar in shape.
Today there are also semidouble and double pansy shapes which were developed through hybridization.
The original blossoms would drop at the slightest disturbance. We now have "Sticktite" blossoms which are non-dropping and just dry up on the bloomstalk when they are finished.
Halo's Aglitter - Single Star
Black Ace - Semidouble Star
Can Can Trail - Double Star
This blossom type appeared in 1952.
The 5 petals of the single star are slightly pointed and of equal size.
Note the small tufts of inner incomplete petals on the semidouble star.
The inner layers of the semidouble and double star may be of unequal size but the outer layer has lobes of equal size.
Any blossom which has 10 complete lobes (petals) or more is called a double. However, there are now blossoms that have many more lobes than that and may actually be triples but they are referred to as "fully double". These are sometimes described as "carnation".
Chantaspring - Single Bell
Rob's Pewter Bells - Semidouble Bell
These blossoms have a characteristic bell shape. They face downwards like bells. The blossoms are cupped and do not fully open because of the way the lobes (petals) are joined to each other.
Will O The Wasp
The two upper petals of the blossom are much smaller and narrower than the bottom three. The wasp has true separate petals. The upper petals curl backwards. It resembles the outline of a wasp, hence the name.
The wasp is a unique blossom and is often paired with bustle back foliage.
Playful Rainbow - Fantasy
Semidouble pale pink star with blue and rose fantasy.
The main colour of the blossom is speckled, streaked or splashed with contrasting color(s). The fantasy can be unstable and variable and occasionally you can lose it altogether.
Mosaique - Medium blue star with pink fantasy.
On this type of fantasy the colors are reversed with the lighter color fantasy streaked, speckled or splashed on to the darker main color.
Dark Sensation - Geneva Edge
This is simply a white edge. It was first found on a sport of "Blue Boy" that was given the name "Lady Geneva" as it came from the "Geneva Nursery".
If you look in AVSA's *First Class 2 program, you will see that they do not use "Geneva" in the blossom descriptions preferring to use "white edge" only.
*Computer program of AVSA's African Violet Master List of Species and Cultivars. Registered and Unregistered African Violets are included.
Purple Crest - Double white with purple edge.
This refers to the colored edge on a blossom. Also called banded or bordered if the edge is wide.
If the edge is speckled with color it is referred to as a fantasy edge.
Lavender Blush - Fluted
Buckeye Butterflies - Ruffled
Designer Dress - Frilled
Raspberry Crisp - Fringed
Fluted, Ruffled, Frilled, Fringed -- what is the difference? These terms are an attempt to gauge the degree to which the edge of the blossom is ruffled, so they are listed in order of least to most frilly.
Fluted - the loose "pie crust" edge which is formed by a lengthwise fold on the petal.
Ruffled or Wavy - a more uniformly wavy edge.
Frilled - edge has an even tighter wave or frill.
Fringed - edge is so frilly that it looks like a fringe, sometimes called serrated or saw-tooth edge.
Classifying these blossoms seems to be open to some interpretation and I found it curious to note in a search of blossom descriptions in AVSA's First Class 2 that the term "fringed" is not used. Those plants that do have Fringe as part of their name such as "Lavender Fringe" are still described as "frilled". All of the other terms listed above are found in the FC2 descriptions.
A blossom with 2 or more tones or shades of one colour.
Optimara Alabama II - Bi-color
A blossom that has two different colors. This term is not used in FC 2.
Multicolor - a blossom of two or more different colors. This term is used in a few FC 2 descriptions.
Bloomlover's Sweetheart - Single Pansy Chimera
Suncoast Peppermint Kathy - Double Star Chimera
Bob's Omega - Striped Star
This is not a Chimera
A pinwheel blossom with stripes or rays coming from the center of the blossom towards the outer edges like the spokes of a wheel. These blossoms will not propagate true from a leaf cutting. They must be propagated from suckers. This is because they are made up of two or more kinds of genetic material. Bloomstalk propagation also works. Since these methods are more time consuming, these plants can be quite expensive.
There are striped blossoms that can be propagated successfully by leaf and these are not chimeras. An example of this is "Bob's Omega".
Bloomlover's Spirit - Thumbprint
This type of contrasting color looks like it was applied with your thumb. You will see this description in african violet catalogues but it is not a term used in FC 2.
Tipped Honey - Double ruby red with dogwood tips.
These small markings on the tips of the petals resemble the markings on a flower from the Dogwood Tree.
Some blossoms have an attractive amount of veining in a contrasting color that resembles netting material. Sometimes just the edge shows the netting.
A special thanks to Tina of Bloomlovers for the use of her blossom photos.