African Violet & Gesneriad Society of Syracuse


African Violet & Gesneriad Society of Syracuse

Newsletter October 2017

The meeting will be held on October 12th at 7 pm at

Pitcher Hill Community Church, 605 Baily Rd., North Syracuse.

Guests are always welcome.

Refreshments: Mary & Linda


Our program for October is Auction, bring labeled plants, design material and anything related to our hobby to auction and of

course bring lots of cash so you can not be out bided.

Club News

  • Anybody who has not paid dues as of October 30th will be dropped from the mailing and member list, see me if you are not sure if  your dues are due.
  • NYSAVS Convention is October 19 - 21st in Albany, NY.
  • If you want to contribute to the basket for NYSAVS convention you have to bring it to this meeting, the theme is "Backpacking with Violets".
  • Show theme for April 2018 at Beaver Lake is "Storm of Violets"
  • We regret that Brenda Gaffield is taking a year off due to family health issues, we wish her the best.
  • A past member should be here again, Barb Leonard is moving back, we have missed you.
  • Elsie Kieper lost her husband recently, she is the only living charter member of NYSAVS, a donation has been made in their honor.
  • Congratulations to Penny for taking on the responsibility of second Vice President and program chair, way to go Penny.

Do African Violets Have a Scent?

No. Not so far... 

  There is no member of the African violet genus (more correctly called Saintpaulia) which is scented. It would be good to note here that wild violets found growing in the Northern Hemisphere often do have a pleasant scent. They are members of the Violaceae family and not related to Saintpaulia at all. The Gesneriad family which includes African violets has several members which have a fragrance. Breeders who are trying to develop scented violets have tried to make hybrid crosses especially using Saintpaulia and scented Streptocarpus (the closest genetic relative) species. The scent of the six "Strep" species is often described as that of "warm honey" but some also have an overtone of creosote. Interesting! At this point, no successful hybrid cross of Saintpaulia and Streptocarpus has been reported, so the work continues. Genetic engineering might be the next best choice, but how important is it to have a smelly violet? Deep in the center of every African violet are the magic places called the "leaf axils." Axils are where each leaf meets the main stem of the plant. Why is it magic? Because just above the leaf axil is a growth point where meristem tissue allows flower buds or suckers (secondary crowns of leaves) to form. When the cultural conditions are right (good light, consistent moisture, and good nutrition, for example), it is likely that your violet will try to reproduce by forming either a bud or a sucker. In poorer conditions, your violet may become vegetative, in which case the axils produce no flowers or suckers. Some violets, like the one shown, have the genetic ability to produce two bud stems from the same axil. Some do it with regularity, while others will only "double stem" when grown for show competitions. Double stemming is a valuable trait which may virtually cover a plant with flowers. It's worth searching out those varieties which bloom for show with a hundred or more flowers... they almost always have this wonderful genetic trait. Wave the wand of good African violet culture and the leaf axils will work magic.

Welcome to today's Growing Tip email from the African Violet Society of America.

Can you name the most common chewing pest of African violets reported in the USA?  It's a nightmare. In fact it often happens in the dark. A perfectly grown African violet suddenly and mysteriously has irregular bite marks like the ones you see at right. Or buds and blossoms disappear overnight - gone with no trace. You may not find a trace of the pest unless you place traps specially designed to attract it.  This pest is very common and will feed on many things. While many chewing pests are put off by hairy leaves, this pest is not. It will quite happily eat African violets if their preferred food source isn't available.  This leaf is from a special exhibit at the recent African Violet Society of America convention. Don't worry, the damage did not occur at the show. Rather the exhibitor was a student who knew exactly what pest was causing the damage in a classroom. I took a photo since it's rare that anyone will admit to having this pest in their home. Here's one more tool from the AVSA website about this pest and it might even help you with other pest problems down the road. Lots of clues... did you guess cockroaches? You would be right.