For gardeners, winter can be a terribly long and colorless season. But if you’re a plant lover who’s discovered the joys of growing African violets, just the opposite is true. Their dainty blooms, in a wide array of purple, pink, blue, white, and multicolored combinations, will appear almost constantly and brighten any gloomy January day.
This member of the same botanical family that includes gloxinias and lipstick plants has a long history, and although they’re called “violets,” they’re really not violets at all. The first plants were discovered by Baron von Saint Paul in Africa in 1892 and were given the botanical name Saintpaulia ionantha by the director of the Royal Botanical Gardens in honor of the baron. The species name, ionantha, Greek for “resembling a violet,” is in reference to the flower.
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