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Capricorn: Dec 22 - Jan 19

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African-VioletsThe birth sign flowers for Capricorn are the African Violet, the Snowdrop and the Jasmin. The African Violet with its essence of friendship and faithfulness holds special meaning for me. As a teenager I spent many summer days with my Grandmother.  She loved her African Violets tending to them daily working to produce new plants from leaves. Just as she faithfully tended to her Violets she tended to family and friends.   As I tend to my African Violets I will no doubt take a moment to smile and reflect on the friendship shared. The first African violets were discovered in 1890 by Baron Walter von Saint Paul, a German explorer who found them growing in the crevices of rocks in East Africa, in what is now known as Tanzania. He sent some of the plants back home to his father, who gave them their botanical name, Saintpaulia ionantha (which in Latin means “with violet flowers”). It wasn’t until 1920 that the African violet was introduced in the United States, but because it requires a warm atmosphere (between 65-75°) it did not become a popular houseplant until central heating was installed in households. More than 20 species of African violets have since been discovered, and hybridizers have had a field day crossing from these original species to develop the thousands of varieties we enjoy today. African violet hybridizers and fanciers delight in the minute details of the plants. For example, blossoms are categorized by several different characteristics, including: - number of petals: single, semi-double, or double - shape: star-shaped, bell-shaped, wasp (narrow petals), etc. - edge: fringed, rippled, different color, etc. - markings: chimera (striped), fantasy (splotched or streaked), etc. - color: two-tone, multicolor, etc. Some of the defining features of African violet foliage include: - shape: pointed, ovate, spoon, spider (elongated), etc. - edge: scalloped, crested, ruffled, fringed, tailored, etc. - texture: quilted, supreme (thick and hairy), etc. - markings: variegated, crown, mosaic, etc. As you can imagine, the possible combinations of African violet characteristics are practically endless. And although blues, purples, pinks and whites still dominate the color selection, there are African violets available today in shades of red, yellow, and even green. A true orange seems to be the color that is still elusive to African violet breeders.

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