In the nearby village, cardamom pods lay drying in the sun on mats; it was Saturday, and that evening a constant stream of people paraded by the Amani guest house on their way to a market-day celebration miles up the road. Conservation and village life here are supposed to go hand in hand, and today about 100,000 people live relatively lightly on the land -- gathering no more wood than they can carry themselves and clearing no new fields -- in small villages within the designated area. And so, I beg of you, from faraway in Africa, please help me know what it is that I saw. Sheil, D. 1993: What future for the African Violets. The manager asked me what I wanted for each meal, offering doughnutlike mandaazi, eggs, toast and cereal for breakfast; curry-inspired meat dishes at lunch and dinner. A window with northern or eastern exposure is ideal for these little guys. I first took a flight to Dar es Salaam from Nairobi, and left the next morning by bus for Tanga, 200 miles north on the Indian Ocean coast. I benefited most from my extremely talented guide, Mr. H, who has been guiding travelers in this area for more than thirty years. I invited Abduel to join me for lunch each day at the lodge, since meals are not included in the guides' pay. African Violets: In Search of the Wild Violets on Amazon.com.au. African violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) are native to rainforests in the mountains of eastern African countries like Tanzania. In the past there was a rail connection not far from Tanga, but today only freight trains use the stretch of rail. I don’t understand “soil-less” mix. P.S. October is the start of the short rainy season in East Africa, and it was drizzling when the bus set out. The last afternoon was a golden one, and our walk took us past fish ponds and stands of sugar cane and grass grown to feed cattle. The bus was the size of a North American intercity bus, but with red-flocked velvet wallpaper. African Violet Society of America2375 North StreetBeaumont, TexasDear Madam or Sir. The surface of the new soil will become wet and stick to your fingers if you touch it. Take care not to press down on the soil so hard that you break the roots. On our travels together, Mr. H. let me on a tremendous excursion in which we hiked up a mountain for several hours. African violets : in search of the wild violets. My dear colleagues-in-plants, I traveled to Tanzania’s Udzungwa National Park without any specific aim other than exploration—that vast activity which accommodates all interests, really. In addition to that first, marvelous sighting of Saintpaulia in the wild that he led me to, he took me on several long walks. Schulman, L. & Kolehmainen, J. Charming. While I maintain an appearance of happy potted plants (orchids, succulents, cacti, ficus and the like), the fact is that I travel incessantly and thereby, usually guilty of seriously neglect towards said plants. Violet flowers range in color from light blue to deep purple. Now—I am not qualified to confirm whether or not what I saw was indeed proof that the smallest of wild African violet species, Saintpaulia pusilla, still exists in nature. ''Do you think it would be all right?''. Their story intrigued me, and when I got a chance to go to Africa last October I decided to check them out. ON the moss-covered rock face in front of me, three small blue-violet flowers pushed out of a rosette of velvet green leaves. The Amani Nature Reserve is also a bargain. Buy African Violets: In Search of the Wild Violets by Raistrick, Reinhild online on Amazon.ae at best prices. In French one of its names is la violette d'Usambara, and initially I thought it referred to Usumbura, now Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. (The one I saw in bloom there was probably S. We passed waterfalls and thickets of long jungle vines while birds hooted at us and endemic monkeys clamored in the trees overhead. It is amazing and a reflection of the need of the human spirit to tinker, tweak and modify things around him. Full board -- three generous meals -- and lodging is about $10 a night. Wild violets (Viola papilionacea, Viola sororia, Viola pubescens, and other species) are a close relative of violas, pansies, and other garden flowers.While some people view this plant as a fine wildflower, others regard it as a stubborn perennial lawn weed.Wild violets can be removed by hand, especially if you regularly inspect your lawn to control the plant before it spreads. Despite being just 5 degrees south of the equator, days were pleasant, in the low 80's, and evenings were cool; a blanket felt good at night in the lodge at the reserve's headquarters where I stayed. Potting African Violets like a really light, well-draining soil with lots of aeration around the roots. Though I am admittedly just a modern-day tourist, the true jungle atmosphere allowed myself to think, for a few minutes at least, that I was actually an intrepid traveler, venturing to little-known parts of the world. They also produce rhizomes, fleshy underground stems that help them aggressively spread across your lawn. Help! I know this now because I write to you from the Udzungwa Mountains of south central Tanzania, from whence these flowers originate. It is amazing and a reflection of the need of the human spirit to tinker, tweak and modify things around him. Only, please understand, I address you merely as a traveler with a few small (yet critical!) Indeed, if given half a chance, I suspect that most of my plants would turn me in to child protective services with the simple charge of not caring enough. African violet leaves are different from the wild violet. Native to higher elevations in tropical eastern Africa, African violets are widely grown horticulturally, especially S. ionantha. He knew every tree and bird by its English, Latin, and Swahili name and displayed an impressive amount of not only biological knowledge, but also the local folklore and history of these forgotten mountains of deepest, darkest Africa. As I continue to research this question online, I am instructed again and again that the flower is highly localized, with very specific climactic requirements, met only by the rare cloud-forest conditions and humidity of these mountains. My favorite encounter was with the white star flower of the wild mango tree, whose scent resembles wild jasmine. University of Helsinki. The second-leg bus trip from Muheza to Amani cost $1. observations from a rare and beautiful land. Rice, pasta or ugali (a corn porridge rather like polenta) rounded out the meals; excellent fresh fruit was dessert. I loved the photos and hope that the author (Andrew Evans) won’t mind me replicating one here! I am writing to you merely as a traveler who has come upon a rare thing in a rare place, hoping that with this photo, you might be able to shed some more light on the subject. The scientific name of African violets -- Saintpaulia -- reflects this German colonial past. The driver exchanged a few words with them, then began to roll up the windows of the cab. Plant violets in an actual African violet potting mix or any light, loose, fast … And as we walked, Abduel continually amazed me with what he knew about the plants and animals of the region, so rich yet so very fragile. The African violet – which isn’t actually related to the violet family – is a perennial plant found only in Kenya and Tanganyika. The leaves on an African violet are oval with a soft velvety texture on top and smooth surface underneath. "They aren't in bloom all the time," my guide, Abduel, was saying. This mountain was sufficiently steep to cause me to lose my breath on a few occasions, the trail of red mud becoming quite treacherous at times. About Wild Violets Most wild violets have dark purple flowers (though some are white) and waxy, green, heart-shaped leaves that taper to a point. They are becoming increasing rare in the wild due to habit destruction so growing them as a house plant particularly the species types is a good thing. Tanga is the nearest good-sized town to the Amani Nature Reserve, a 20,000-acre preserve in the East Usambaras, home to eight wild African violet … I shall commence right away by stating quite clearly that I cannot—not without the greatest stretch of the imagination—consider myself an enthusiast, let alone the casual hobbyist, of flowering houseplants. In the distance were the East Usambara Mountains, which catch moisture-laden breezes from the Indian Ocean. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. Wild species can have violet, purple, pale blue, or white flowers. Wild violets are perennial or annual cool-season weeds that produce attractive heart-shaped, scalloped edged leaves. In the wild, these flower species manifest in white, violet, purple, or pale blue colors. “Do you like flowers?” asked Mr. H., quite timidly. Scheduled airlines don't stop at the town either. The next morning we scrambled down into a canyon to see another nest of Saintpaulia. Now that I'm back home, I have great hopes for my own domesticated Saintpaulia. African Violet Care: Basic Summary Light: Moderate to bright, indirect, indoor light. The plants get their common name "African violet" from their superficial resemblance to true violets (Viola, family Violaceae). Baron Walter von Saint Paul Illaire found the plants in 1892, when he was commissioner of Tanga province. There they were, finally: wild African violets, lovely examples of the ancestors of one of the world's most popular houseplants. Disclaimer: The contents of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only. African violets (or Saintpaulia) are a genus of plants within the Gesneriad family. To control wild violets, try using a herbicide or digging them out by hand. We recommend Espoma’s African Violet Mix, a rich blend of sphagnum peat moss, peat humus and perlite. But further reading revealed that the flowers originally came from the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania. The other odd affect of my wild jungle encounter is that I am suddenly troubled with a longing to grow African violets in my home. I was surprised to read that the author was born and raised in Tanzania, and played in the mountainous forests where African violets grew wild. Raha Leo and Bembea Line buses, which leave between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. from Dar, connect with either the Bin Seif or Jabwebwea bus, which leave for Amani around noon every day from Muheza, a small market town about 15 miles inland from Tanga. African violet leaves are different from the wild violet. - Scripta Botanica Belgica 29: 165-170. African violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) are one of the world’s most popular flowering houseplants, so we expect them to … you know, flower.Experts insist they easily bear an endless springtime of blooms, to which many of their owners sadly shake their heads. Of flowering plants in 1892, when he was commissioner of Tanga province?. 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