29¢ African Violet
Issue Date: October 8, 1993
City: Beaumont, TX
Printed By: KCS Industries
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10 x 11
The Saintpaulia, better known as the African violet, is not really a violet at all, although its deep purple blossoms resemble those of a violet. First discovered in the hilly regions of tropical East Africa by Baron Walter von Saint Paul, the African violet has become a popular house plant in many countries around the world.
The Imperial District Captain of Usambara (a province of northeast Tanganyika), Saint Paul came across this pretty little plant while exploring the outer boundaries of his plantations. He immediately sent home plants of “das violette Usambara” to his father in Germany.
It was Herman Wendland, the Director of the Royal Botanical Garden at Herrenhausen, Germany that named the plant for the Saint Paul family, described it in Latin, and gave it the species name ionantha, which means “with violet-like flowers.”
Displayed in Ghent at the International Horticultural Exhibit, the African violet was “one of the most botanically interesting plants at the exhibition.” Friedrich Benary, the first commercial gardener to see the possibilities of cultivating this popular plant, began seed production and distribution in 1893. Today there are hundreds of varieties whose blooms come in a wide range of colors, including purple, blue, pink, and white.