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SAINTPAULIA IN THE WILD ~ I first became interested in wild (species) violets when I received S. rupicola as a gift from a local violet club. I can't really say why I became so attached to them. I never thought I would because I thought they were, rather, well...plain.S. confusa  Brother Paddy blooms

It wasn't until I acquired several different ones that I came to appreciate their diversity. That, and the fact that they are wild fascinated me. These wild violets, some of them the parents of all our modern violets, grow on sheer rock cliffs in the mountains of Africa, mostly in Tanzania.

Most wild violets grow in a very small area called the Eastern Arc Mountains. It is very beautiful there, but people are cutting down the forests because they need to make a living.

DEFENDERS OF THE WILD AFRICAN VIOLETS ~ Some organizations are working very hard to help the people make a good living without cutting down the forests. Other people are working hard to save the wild violets from extinction. Here are some links to learn more:

University at Buffalo (opens in new window)

Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (opens in new window)

Most wild Saintpaulia are just as easy to grow as other African Violets, except for S. goetzeana. This plant grows in high mountain cloud forests and just sulks in our lowland climate.


Click to see my new species pictures!

S. brevipilosa S. bevipilosa (S 10a) 1964 (B. Burtt) Single light purple/darker center; 1-4 per peduncle, very short lived. Light green, small, round, thin, glossy, soft, velvety, tightly bunched/pale back; randomly curved petioles. Usually single crown. Miniature to semiminiature to small standard. Saintpaulia species.

My brevipilosa grows as a miniature. I like it because it is nearly always in bloom and the leaves are very large, round and soft.

S. ionanthaS. ionantha (S 5) 1893 (H. Wendland) Single blue-violet, 4-5 per peduncle, very floriferous. Dark green, pointed, heart-shaped, tends to spoon, thick, quilted, glossy, slightly serrated, long red-brown petiole/red back. Large. Saintpaulia species.

Most modern violets were hybridized from S. ionantha. My plant grows very symmetrical. The leaves lay flat and never spoon.

S. pendula var. kizarae (S 8a) 1964 (B. Burtt) Single lavender, 2-4 per peduncle, floriferous. Light green, round, hairy, serrated. Trailer. Saintpaulia species

I love the fuzzy leaves on this cute little plant! It likes higher humidity than other violets.

S. rupicola (S 10) 1964 (B. Burtt) Single light-medium blue, three or more per peduncle. Light-medium green, heart-shaped, soft, smooth, glossy, velvety/light back. Leaves sometimes thick. Multi-crowned standard or bushy trailer. Saintpaulia species.

My rupicola is single crowned at this time. My S. rupicola Chasimba is multi-crowned.

MY SPECIES LIST Note---All of these have been sent to new loving homes.

Old List New List*
3. S. shumensis
S 3 S. shumensis 3. cl. shumensis
S. shumensis Mather EE 3. cl. shumensis Mather EE
5. S. ionantha
S. confusa Brother Paddy 5b. cl. confusa Brother Paddy
S. confusa Mather E 5b. cl. confusa Mather E
S 17 S. grotei 5b. cl. grotei
S. grotei Mather 21 5b. cl. grotei Mather 21
S. grotei "Silvert" 5b. cl. grotei "Silvert"
Sport of Grotei 5b. cl. Sport of Grotei
S 19a S. magungensis var. minima 5b. cl. magungensis var. minima
House of Amani 5c.1. cl. House of Amani
S 5 S. ionantha 5c.1. cl. ionantha
S. ionantha "Kew" ionanatha "Kew" (not classified)
S. diplotricha Uppsala 3085 5c.2. cl. diplotrica Uppsala 3085
S 14 S. orbicularis 5f. cl. orbicularis
S 14a S. orbicularis var. purpurea 5f. cl. orbicularis var. purpurea
S 8 S. pendula Uppsala cl. 3089 5g. cl. pendula Uppsala cl. 3089
S 8a S. pendula var. Kizarae 5g. cl. pendula var. Kizarae
S 11 S. velutina 5h. cl. velutina
6. S. brevipilosa
S 10a S. brevipilosa 6. cl. brevipilosa
8. S. rupicola
S 10b S. rupicola 8. cl. rupicola
S. rupicola Cha Simba 8. cl. rupicola Cha Simba
S. rupicola Mather No. 5 8. cl. rupicola Mather No. 5
Only plants with numbers could be shown in collections All plants with numbers may be shown in collections.
* List is to the best of my knowledge.

New species classifications based on Darbyshire, adjusted by plant taxonomist Dr. James Smith, and adopted by the AVSA.


S. goetzeana (S 10) 1900 (A. Engler) Single tiny pale lilac to near white/darker upper petals. Three or more per peduncle, rarely blooms. Dark green, small, round, thick, smooth edge/lighter back. Creeping, branched stems, multi-crowned. Miniature trailer.

Culture - this plant requires cool temperatures, below 75 degrees F is required. Grows best below 65 degrees and may need temps in the 40's to set blooms. It prefers to set buds on a windowsill with cool, fluctuating temperatures. It has very fragile roots, so don't repot it unless you must, and only in cold weather!

What does S. goetzeana look like? The best photos that I am aware of were take by John Evans when his wife's plant bloomed in a cool green house. Maryjane Evan's S. goetzeana in bloom (no longer available)

The second photo is scanned from the cover of an AVSA magazine dated September 1980. There are several older AVSA magazines with articles written by a successful grower of this plant (see reference below).

Mrs. Jessie Crusafulli's S. goetzeana (opens in new window)


S. goetzeana Blooms for California Woman by Irene Hazeltine
AVSA magazine March 1972.

Mrs. Jessie Crisafulli
AVSA Magazine September 1980.

s. Goetzeana Duet Performs An Encore
Mrs. Jessie Crisafulli
AVSA Magazine November 1981

Saintpaulia Goetzeana Duet Becomes A Trio
Mrs. Jessie Crisafulli
AVSA Magazine September 1982


Taxonomy, Ecology and Distribution (opens in new window)
Dr. Jeff Smith

Eastern Arc Mountains Home of the African Violet (opens in new window)

Eastern Arc Homepage More Eastern Arc Links (opens in new window)

Help keep species violets from disappearing

Care to Share

Make room on your plant shelf for at least one wild violet.


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