Optimara "Space Violets"
"Space Violets" refers to those Optimara Violets which have characteristics derived from the Optimara Space Violet Program. The Optimara Space Violet Program began in 1984, when Holtkamp Greenhouses launched 25,000 Optimara seeds into space on one of NASA's space shuttles. The seeds remained in space, orbiting the Earth, for nearly six years. (The Long Duration Exposure Facility, on which the seeds orbited, is shown at right.) The program was conceived to test the effect of long-term exposure to cosmic radiation and lack of gravity. When the seeds were retrieved in 1990, many mutations soon became apparent. While most of these mutations are still being developed, some have already been crossed with Optimara varieties. One such mutation has resulted in a new characteristic called multiflorescence. This characteristic gives Optimara Violets an extraordinary abundance of flowers which never stop blooming. Compared with PMA standards, which define a finished African Violet as having five to seven open blooms, a multiflorescent Optimara variety will have at least 20 open blooms.
Below is the current list of Optimara Violets which have characteristics derived from the Space Violet program.
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Copyright 1999 Optimara/Holtkamp Greenhouses, Inc. Nashville, Tennessee. Optimara Field Guide is a trademark of Holtkamp Greenhouses, Inc. Optimara and the Optimara logo are trademarks of International Plant Breeding, A.G., Switzerland.