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African Violet Glossary

Solubility: With regard to fertilizer, describes how soluble the elements are, i.e., how much do the elements dissolve in water. The solubility of fertilizers used for African Violets should be 100 percent. If the fertilizer is not fully dissolving, then all the elements will not be available for absorption by the roots. In addition, only a fully-dissolving fertilizer will work in self-watering devices.

Soluble Powder: Refers to a fertilizer or pesticide which has been processed into a dry powder. With regard to fertilizers, the soluble powder is dissolved in water and either applied to the soil or sprayed on the leaves for foliar feeding. With regard to pesticides, the soluble powder may either be applied directly or dissolved in water and sprayed. On pesticide labels, soluble powder is abbreviated SP.

Sonja: Rhapsodie variety. Medium, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size) with frilled, purple flowers and dark green leaves. Introduced 1989. (AVSA Reg. No. 6992) More information.

Sooty Mold: A fungus which sometimes grows superficially on the leaves of African Violets. Sooty Mold appears as tiny, black speckles and is hosted by honeydew, a sticky secretion left by certain insect pests. More information.

Sophia: Rhapsodie variety. Large, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size) with frilled, pink flowers. First introduced in 1962 as Rhapsodie in Pink. More information.

South Carolina: Optimara variety. Large, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size). Flowers are white stars with traces of purple on the edge and center. Leaves are medium green. Introduced 1987. Improved 1990. (AVSA Reg. No. 6598) More information.

South Dakota: Optimara variety. Large, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size) with single, pink flowers and medium green leaves. Introduced 1987. (AVSA Reg. No. 6599) More information.

Sowbugs: See Isopods.

Soyoko: Holtkamp variety (Europe). Small, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size) with single, two-tone pink flowers and medium green leaves. Available in the U.S. as Ilona.

SP: See Soluble Powder.

Space Baby: See Space Violet.

Space Violet: Sometimes called Space Baby. Any of the African Violet varieties which came out of the Space Violet Program launched by Holtkamp Greenhouses in 1984. A total of 25,000 Optimara and Rhapsodie seeds were launched into space by one of NASA's space shuttles and remained in orbit around the Earth for nearly six years. As a consequence of their elevated exposure to cosmic radiation and lack of gravity, the seeds produced many fascinating mutations. Many of the characteristics which have been cultivated from the Space Violet Program have still not been made public. One notable result, however, is the development of multiflorescence. More information.

Spacing: Refers to the amount of space between African Violets. African Violets need correct spacing to insure even growth and symmetry. For most growers, the biggest concern is to not space African Violets too closely. If not allowed room to grow, African Violets will become rangy, i.e., they will develop elongated leaves and stems. Commercial growers, however, are also concerned about too much spacing, since this can cause the leaves of African Violets to become hard and grow downward. For this reason, commercial growers follow a spacing schedule which adjusts the space between plants as they grow.

Species: Category of plant classification that includes those plants which share common characteristics within the same genus. Almost all African Violets are classified as Saintpaulia ionantha. Nevertheless, years of hybridizing have given African Violets a lot of variation within this species. These variations are accounted for in the names, i.e., Optimara Da Vinci, which are used to distinguish varieties. Other species which have significantly contributed to the African Violet, as it is most often recognized, include S. confusa, S. pusilla and S. Shumensis.

Sphagnum Peat Moss: See Peat Moss.

Spider: Leaf type. See Longifolia.

Spider Mites: Tiny arachnids known to feed on African Violets. Spider Mites measure about 1/100 inch in length and come in a variety of colors, depending on the species. Red Spider Mites, as the name suggests, are very often red, but many also be brown or black. Two-Spotted Spider Mites (Tetranychus urticae) are normally light green with dark spots just behind the head. All Spider Mites feed on the underside of the leaves and produce webs which cover the leaves and stems. The damage caused by Spider Mites is compounded by the fact that many Mites carry Botrytis. More information.

Spongy Cells: Leaf cells which form the lower layer of the mesophyll. The spongy cell layer lies between the lower epidermis and pallisade cell layer. It is in these and the pallisade cells that photosynthesis occurs.

Spontaneous Variegation: Type of variegation on the leaves of African Violets which is unstable. Spontaneous variegation either appears only briefly or is incapable of being reproduced in propagation.

Spooned: Leaf type. Also called cupped or cupped-up. Describes an African Violet leaf which has the characteristic of being concave, i.e., the edges turn up slightly to give the leaf a cupped or, especially on an ovate leaf, a "spooned" appearance. Also see Trumpet.

Sport: Also called mutant. A spontaneous mutation. An African Violet which has physical characteristics that are markedly different from its parent plant.

Springtails: Bourletiella hortensis. Also called Collembola. Tiny, thread-like insects which grow up to 3/16 inch in length. Springtails are wingless and typically gray or bluish in color. Springtails thrive on decaying organic matter, especially in warm, moist soil or in watering saucers. While they can be a nuisance, Springtails generally do very little harm to African Violets. More information.

St Louis: Optimara variety. Compact African Violet (3-inch pot size) with semi-double, purple flowers and medium green, girl-type leaves. Introduced 1988. (AVSA Reg. No. 6970) More information.

St Lucia: Optimara variety. Medium, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size) with frilled flowers and dark green leaves. More information.

Stake: See Plant Stake.

Stalk: A leaf stem (petiole) or flower stem (pedicel).

Stamen: Also called androecium. The male part of an African Violet bloom. Consists of the filament and the anther.

Standard (1): Leaf type. See Plain.

Standard (2): Describes the most common plant size or growth habit for African Violets. Standard African Violets are single-crowned and have a diameter of 8 inches or more. In terms of size, standard African Violets are classified as either small, medium, large or extra large. Standard African Violets are normally grown in pot sizes 4 inches or larger. Also see Compact, Miniature and Super Miniature.

Standard Pot: A common type of pot which is distinguished from other pots by its relative dimensions. The depth of a standard pot is equal to its diameter, as measured at the rim. Standard pots are not recommended for African Violets. Also see Azalea Pot.

Star: Bloom type. Describes an African Violets flower on which the petals are of equal size. This bloom type was first introduced in 1952.

Starter: See Plug.

Starter Mix: See Rooting Medium.

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