Research Intro

Many African violet growers are interested in more scientific information about African violets.  Here we provide a brief history of African violets, some of the more technical information on cultivation, and a reference list of African violet related articles from the horticultural community.

AVSA’s interest in scientific knowledge is evidenced by the scholarships and research grants that it provides.

Scholarships - Research Grants

AVSA has long supported scientific investigation focused on issues impacting African violets.   In 1949, just 3 years after the creation of the Society, members of AVSA established the Boyce Edens Research Fund to support research.  Today the fund provides research grants and college scholarship awards.

Research supported by an AVSA grant:   Extraction and Characterization of Water-soluble Pigments from Saintpaulia Flowers: Part 1

Big News - taxonomic reclassification of African violets

Based on genetic studies done in recent years, the International Society for Horticultural Science has proposed placing Saintpaulia as a sub-species (section) of Streptocarpus.  The implementation of this change is subject to agreement of numerous entities and is in that process.

Background of the taxonomy of African violets and some information on the proposed change is found in the following articles:

          Goretsky, W, 2016: The Reclassification of Saintpaulia – an Interview with Michael Moeller. African Violet Magazine 69(5): 46-48

          Nishii, K., M. Hughes., M. Briggs, E. Haston, F. Christie, M.J. DeVilliers, T Hanekom, W.G. Roos, D. U. Bellstedt and M. Mőller. 2015. Streptocarpus redefined to include all AfroMalagasy Gesneriaceae: Molecular Phylogenies prove congruent with geographical distribution and basic  chromosome numbers and uncover remarkable morphological homoplasies. Taxon 64(6): 1243-1274

          Christenhusz, M.J.J. 2012.  On African violets and Cape primroses – towards a monophyletic Streptocarpus (Gesneriaceae).  Phytotaxa 46: 3-9.

          Smith, J., Pershing, B., Price, B. 2008: Saintpaulia Species and their Identification Numbers: History, Present and Future. African Violet Magazine 61(6): 42-44


Reference List

This reference list on articles about African violets is compiled by Jeffery Smith, B.S., M.S., PhD. (Botany), of Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana.  AVSA thanks Dr. Smith for generously sharing this information, and for his many other contributions to scientific knowledge of African violets.


These articles from the African Violet Magazine are more scientific than more casual growers (and perhaps the general public) find interesting.          Click here for a list with links to these documents.

African Violet History

A brief history of the African violet.

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