African violet ‘Magnolia’ Supreme

My African violet ‘Magnolia’ has recently sported (spontaneously mutated) from its original form. Both the flowers and the leaves have changed.

African violet ‘Magnolia’ was hybridized by M. Burns and registered with the African Violet Society of America in 1986 by R. Nadeau. The official description for the original hybrid reads:

Magnolia (6378) 09/20/1986 (M. Burns/R. Nadeau) Semidouble-double light pink. Black-green, ovate, pointed, glossy, pebbled/red back. Large (DAVS 1351)

Magnolia is listed with photos in First Class 2 (the software program of the Master List of Species and Cultivars hybrids available from the AVSA or you can see photos of it online here and here.

My Magnolia now has supreme foliage: the leaves darker in color, larger and rounder, very thick, more scalloped and hairy, and they are very brittle and break easily. The petioles (leaf stems) are also very thick and brittle.

Supreme foliage is not very common today in registered varieties, but First Class 2 lists over 180 different hybrids going as far back as the 1950s (the DuPont, Amazon and Supreme series’ are mentioned in vintage African violet books on my shelf). You can learn more about the various kind of African leaf types here (PDF) and here (PDF), or browse photos of some interesting leaf types I’ve had in my collection.

The flowers on my African violet have also mutated – both the colors and texture have changed. The petals have very heavy substance, thick and waxy, and the color is now a deep rose with darker shadings:

The plant is probably a tetraploid but I would need to send a leaf to an African violet expert like Dr. Jeff Smith to confirm it.

I have grown two other plants with supreme foliage: Wee Willie Winkie Supreme (an unregistered Baker hybrid that sported from the original) and Cherry Dots Supreme (Cherry Dots, also an unregistered hybrid by Baker, became supreme while in my collection – it was my first encounter with foliage sporting, near-black foliage, pebbled foliage, supreme foliage, and my first variety having flowers with dogwood tips.

I don’t have either of these any longer – I wish I had taken better photos at the time.

I like the new Magnolia plant better than the original Magnolia, especially the glossiness of the leaves and the waxy blossoms. For now I will be content striking leaves to see what kind of plants grow from Magnolia Supreme, and maybe cross-pollinating the plant with something else in my collection to see what the seeds produce – you never know what you’ll get. I will be paying close attention to the plant, though – if it sported once, it might sport again… and you never know what you’ll get 🙂 .

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