Rus Articles Journal

The colonial past of a small flower or What you know about African violets?

the African violet are one of the most widespread houseplants. She is unpretentious, well breeds. The biological name of an African violet - the Saintpaulia (on - Latin Saintpaulia), it treats Gesneriyev` family and is an undersized evergreen perennial grassy plant. The saintpaulia has the shortened stalks with the radical socket of foliage. Leaves are fleshy, a heart-shaped form, are covered with soft hairs. Flowers consist of five petals, are collected in a brush. Tsvetonosa are formed at the basis of leaves.

The name “African violet“ comes from the name of the place of growth of saintpaulias. The territory of their natural distribution are mountainous areas of East Africa, namely - Tanzania and Kenya. The majority of types grows only in Tanzania, in Uzambarsky and Ulugursky mountains. It is promoted by a favorable humid climate. Flowers grow on coast of the rivers, near falls.

From where there was a name “saintpaulia“?

The answer is covered in the colonial past of the African continent. In Europe there was a keen interest in natural resources of other countries. Territories of less developed countries of Africa and Asia were occupied by troops of this or that European country and were called colonies. Local population subordinated most often by a use of weapons.

At the time of opening of saintpaulias for Europeans Tanzania was a part of the German colony which was called the German East Africa (German of Deutsch - Ostafrika) and covered territories of modern Tanzania (Tanganyika), Burundi and Rwanda. This colony existed from 1885 to 1919

So happened that the military commandant of the Uzambarsky district of a colony appointed by the baron Walter von Seong - Paul , the son of the President of the German dendrology society, Ulrich von Seong - Paul. Probably, the interest in search of new plants was descended to the commandant. In 1892 during walk he saw flowers unknown earlier, collected seeds and sent them to the father.

Ulrich von Seong - Paul gave seeds to the friend, the botanist Herman Vendland - the head of a botanical garden in Hanover. Vermland grew up seedling from seeds and called the received Saintpaulia ionanta flowers (A saintpaulia fialkotsvetkovy), having allocated them in a separate sort and having appropriated the name in honor of a family of Sep - Fields.

In 1893 the first blossoming of saintpaulias was received. And in the same year the plant was open for the European fans of flowers as the new representative gesneriyevy at the international flower-show in the city of Ghent (the capital of the province East Flanders, Belgium). There is a wish to note that tradition to hold floristic events in this city did not disappear. Since 19th century and till our days, in the city of Ghent the large-scale cultural festivals known as Gent holidays are annually held, and time in 5 years is carried out one of the best-known flowers festivals - Gent Floraliya.

But we will return to a saintpaulia. Following the results of an exhibition the right of industrial cultivation was acquired by gardening firm of Ernst Benari (Germany). From this point distribution of an African violet began worldwide. Saintpaulias began to gain popularity, grew up them in houses and greenhouses of Italy, England, Belgium. In 1927 saintpaulias were delivered in the USA and became very popular window plant there. Flower growers - Americans organized clubs of fans of saintpaulias, the most known of which was Society of the African violets of America (African Violet Society of America).

To Russia saintpaulias were delivered probably at the beginning of the 20th century. The African violet was a rarity, and it was grown up, generally in greenhouses of botanical gardens. During the Soviet period the big collection of wild-growing and hybrid saintpaulias was collected, for example, in a greenhouse of the Botanical garden of the Leningrad state university. The director of a botanical garden, Dmitry Mikhaylovich Zalessky, devoted a lot of time to studying and selection of saintpaulias. Results of the researches D. M. Zalessky stated in the book “Saintpaulias. Their wild-growing types and questions of culture“ (1983 of the edition).

Mass interest of the Russian flower growers - fans appeared in 50 - x years of the last century. Such names as the flower grower Natalia Ivanovna Milonova, selectors Boris Mikhaylovich and Tatyana Nikolaevna Makuni and others are known.

By 1949 hundred grades were known. Now their quantity exceeds several thousands. Annually selectors remove all new and new grades which please buyers with a variety of colourings.