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African Violet Glossary

Picasso: Optimara variety belonging to the Artist's Palette series. Named for the Spanish cubist and abstract painter, Pablo Picasso. Large, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size) with single, bi-color flowers. Flowers are pink with splashes of purple. Leaves are medium green. Introduced 1995. (AVSA Reg. No. 8334) More information.

Piggyback: Leaf type. See Bustleback.

Pink Delaware: Optimara variety. Medium, standard African Violet (4-inch pot size). Flowers are two-tone pink stars. Leaves are dark green. Introduced 1987. (AVSA Reg. No. 6591) More information.

Pinnaspic aspidistrae: Fern Scale. A common species of Scale Insect known to feed on African Violets. See Scale.

Pinwheel: Bloom pattern. Also called striped. Describes an African Violet flower which has bi-color rays which emanate from the center of the flower and continue to the edge of the petals. The effect gives the flower a pinwheel appearance. The pinwheel bloom pattern is most often associated with chimeras.

Pistil: Also called gynoecium. The female part a bloom. The pistil consists of the ovary, the stigma and the style.

Pillbugs: See Isopods.

Pith: The soft center of the stems.

Plain: Leaf type. Sometimes called standard or boy-type, so named for Blue Boy, the hybrid from which this leaf type was first known. Describes an African Violet leaf which has no remarkable characteristics. Also see Tailored.

Planococcus citri: Citrus Mealy Bug. A species of Mealy Bug known to feed on African Violets. See Leaf Mealy Bugs.

Plant Carbohydrate: Unit of chemical energy produced and used by plants. Plant carbohydrates are created when carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (in the form of carbon dioxide and water) combine during photosynthesis.

Plant Debris: The spent flowers and leaves which often accumulate on the surface of the soil. The presence of plant debris may attract certain insects which feed on or take shelter beneath decaying plant matter. Such insects and related pests include Black Vine Weevils, Blackflies, Earwigs, Fungus Gnats, Isopods, Mushroom Flies, Sciarid Flies, Springtails and Symphylans.

Plant Food: Fertilizer formulated for ornamental plants. Often refers to a fertilizer specifically made for non-flowering, foliage plants. As such, a fertilizer labeled as plant food may not contain enough phosphorus for African Violets and other flowering plants.

Plant Growth Regulator: See Growth Regulator.

Plant Lice: See Aphids.

Plant Patent: A patent granted and recorded by a patent agency, such as the U.S. Patent Office, specifically for plants. The development of a new species or hybrid often takes a considerable investment in both years and money. A plant patent protects that investment by recognizing the hybridizer as the sole owner of the patented plant. As such, any attempt to reproduce a patented plant is prohibited except by licensed propagators or by those to whom the owner of the patent has otherwise given express permission. Patent information is usually printed on the tag or plant stake accompanying the plant.

Plant Stake: A specific type of tag used to identify a potted plant. Plant stakes are usually produced from rigid plastic and inserted into the soil.

Plant Table: A table or platform either made for or adapted to growing plants. Plant tables are often fitted with drains, capillary matting and other features to make cultivation easier. Plant tables do not always have legs. Many, such as those used by commercial growers, move along a system of conveyer-like rollers so that the tables can be rotated. Plant tables are often very large, holding hundreds of plants on a single one.

Plant Tray: A shallow tray, often made of rigid plastic. Plant trays are typically used for rooting leaf cuttings.

Plant Type: With regard to African Violets, refers to the type of plant being described, i.e., miniature, super miniature, semi-miniature, standard, single-crown or trailer. Also see Growth Habit.

Plantlet: Sometimes called a baby. A small, baby plant which emerges from a leaf cutting or peduncle cutting. A plantlet which emerges from a seed is called a seedling. Also see Rooted Clump.

Plug: Also called starter. A term most often used by commercial growers to refer to a plantlet which has been separated from the mother leaf and other plantlets, and has been placed with potting soil into a plug tray. Once in the plug tray, it will remain a plug until transferred to the pot in which it will ultimately be finished.

Plug Tray: Tray, usually made of rigid plastic, designed to hold plugs. The plug tray has several cavities situated in rows. Each of these cavities, which is about 1 to 1-1/2 inches wide, acts as sort of interim pot for African Violet plantlets after they have been separated from the mother leaf. Plugs will remain in this tray until they are transferred to a pot.

Pod: Seed pod. See Pericarp.

Pointed: Leaf type. Describes an African Violet leaf which is pointed at the end. Variations of a pointed leaf include heart-shaped and longifolia.

Polka: Optimara variety belonging to the Little Dancer series. Compact African Violet (3-inch pot size) with frilled, lilac flowers and dark green leaves. Introduced 1997. More information.

Pollen: On African Violets, the light yellow, powdery substance which is produced in the anthers and which fertilizes the ovules to make seeds.

Pollen Grain: A single particle of pollen.

Pollen Plant: Particularly in regard to hybrids, the parent plant which provides the pollen.

Pollen Sac: See Anther.

Pollination: Process whereby pollen is transferred from the anthers to the stigma. If the pollen unites with the ovules, the process would complete fertilization, and seeds would begin to grow. Also see Cross-Pollination, Open-Pollination and Self-Pollination.

Polycarpic: Describes any plant which grows and flowers perennially. African Violets are polycarpic.

Polyphagotarsonemus latus: Broad Mites, tiny arachnids known to feed on African Violets.

Porosity: With regard to the cultivation of African Violets and other plants, a term referring to how porous a potting soil is. The porosity of potting soil is an indication of how well it will drain and aerate. Potting soils for African Violets should be very porous.

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