Stem: On African Violets, the neck or a petiole. May also refer to a flower stem, i.e., a peduncle or pedicel.
Steneotarsonemus pallidus: Cyclamen Mites, tiny arachnids known to feed on African Violets.
Stefanie: Holtkamp variety (Europe). Medium, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size) with frilled, pink flowers and medium green leaves (red reverse). Available in the U.S. as Ellen.
Stephanie: Rhapsodie variety. Medium, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size) with single, blue flowers and dark green leaves. Introduced 1995. Improved 1998. (AVSA Reg. No. 8353) More information.
Sterilization: See Pot Sterilization or Soil Sterilization.
Sticktite: A term to describe a modern hybrid African violet with non-dropping blossoms. The original Saintpaulia found in the hills of the Usambara Mountains in Africa, have blossoms which easily fall off when shaken. Modern hybridization has removed this trait from many varieties.
Stigma: The pollen-receptive tip of an African Violet's pistil.
Stock Plant: An African Violet cultivated specifically for its leaves, which are used in propagation. The use of stock plants is most often associated with commercial growers. Also see Leaf Propagation.
Stockholm: Optimara variety belonging to the World Traveler series. Extra large, standard African Violet (6-inch pot size). Flowers are light blue stars. Leaves are medium green. Introduced 1993. (AVSA Reg. No. 7921) More information.
Stomata: sing. stomate or stoma. The pores of a leaf. The stomata are formed by the guard cells in the epidermis. They play an important role in transpiration and help regulate the plant's moisture and heat by letting water vapor escape. They also play an important role in photosynthesis by allowing carbon dioxide into the leaves.
Strap: Leaf type. See Longifolia.
Strawberry: Leaf type. Describes an African Violet leaf which has a shiny, stippled surface, giving it a texture similar to that of a strawberry.
Strawberry Nematodes: Aphelechoides fragariae. Microscopic, unsegmented worms known to feed on African Violets. Strawberry Nematodes enter African Violets through wounds or leaf pores (stomata), actually feeding from within the plant. Their feeding activity causes leaf and flower stems to swell up. Among other symptoms, Strawberry Nematodes will cause scarring on the upperside of leaves. In almost all cases, Strawberry Nematodes are fatal. More information.
Striped: Bloom pattern. See Pinwheel.
Stunt: See Virus.
Style: Part of the pistil. On African Violets, the style is the long, thin extension between the ovary and the stigma.
Sucker: Sometimes called a side shoot or offset. A new African Violet growing from another African Violet which, unless removed from the parent plant, will develop into a new crown. Suckers typically emerge at the base of the main stem or among the lower leaf axils. If it develops at the base of the main stem, the sucker will most likely have rooted. If the sucker forms among the leaf axils, it probably will not have roots. Nevertheless, both can be removed from the parent plant and used for propagation. See Rooting A Sucker. Also see Trailer.
Sucker Plucker: Tool designed especially for removing suckers. It has an oval end for scooping and a triangular end for cutting.
Sulfur: (S) Major element essential to the growth and vitality of African Violets. Sometimes referred to as a secondary element. Sulfur plays an important role in the synthesis of proteins and helps boost an African Violet's resistance to disease. In addition to its function in plant nutrition, sulfur is also used as an elemental pesticide to treat fungi.
Sulfur Deficiency: Condition which describes an African Violet that is not getting enough sulfur. A deficiency of sulfur will cause chlorosis in the leaves and stems of African Violets. More information.
Sunlight: For African Violets and other plants, a source of energy necessary to turn carbon, hydrogen and oxygen into plant carbohydrates during photosynthesis. To perform at their best, African Violets need a lot of indirect sunlight.
Super Mini: See Super Miniature.
Super Miniature: Also called super mini. Description of plant size or plant type. A super miniature African Violet is typically 3 to 4 inches in diameter and is grown in a 1-inch pot. Also see Little Jewel and Miniature.
Superphosphate: Type of fertilizer sometimes used as a source of phosphorus. To make it more soluble, superphosphate is treated with some form of acid, i.e., sulfuric acid.
Supreme: Leaf type. Describes an African Violet leaf which is very large and hairy.
Surprise: Optimara variety. Medium, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size) with single, bi-color flowers. Flowers are blue and pink. Leaves are light green. An unusual variety in that there is variation in each plant. Introduced 1997. More information.
Susi: Rhapsodie variety. Medium, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size) with frilled, bi-color flowers. Flowers are white with a red center. Leaves are medium green. Introduced 1987. (AVSA Reg. No. 6620) More information.
Symmetry: As defined by the AVSA for purposes of judging, the shape of an African Violet as determined by a number of factors according to the plant type under consideration. For standard African Violets, symmetry is achieved when the leaves form a rosette such that they are evenly distributed and form straight lines from the base of their stems to the tips of the leaves.
Symphilids: See Symphylans.
Symphylans: Also called Symphilids or Symphylids. Arthropods which look similar to centipedes, though much smaller. Symphylans have long, segmented bodies which are usually white or light gray in color. They measure 1/16 to 1/4 inch in length and have 10 to 12 pairs of legs. While they may sometimes feed on the roots of African Violets, they generally cause very little damage. More information.
Symphylids: See Symphylans.
Synthetic Insecticide: See Synthetic Pesticide.
Synthetic Pesticide: Any pesticide which is formulated from chemically-processed compounds. Examples, which are labeled for African Violets, include Acephate, Benomyl, Captan, Diazinon, Dicofol, Dimethoate, Ferbam and Malathion. Contrast synthetic pesticides with elemental and organic pesticides.
Systemic: Describes a pesticide which is absorbed into the plant when applied so that it is ingested as pests feed on the plant. The benefit of systemic pesticides is that they cannot be washed away. A disadvantage of systemic pesticides is that at least part of the plant must be eaten in order for the pesticide to be effective.
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