Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Triploid, tricot, three leaves instead of two. Whatever it is called is a mutation involving chromosomes. Most normal plants and animals have two. (diploid) Sometimes more happen. This case three. Diploid plants (dicots) grow two leaves at a time. (mint, asters, african violets, cucumbers..too many to list) Monocots (grass, philodendrons, etc grow one leaf at a time.) Tricots grow three leaves at a time.

Tricots are not normal with most plants. As far as being able to propagate it, I am not sure. The internet seems all over the board on whether or not they are sterile, stronger or weaker growing, or can be bred. My take is that it would be a hard trait to breed for but can occur as a mutation. The effects are interesting.

I've seen it occur with coleus. (the branch will remain that way until the tip gets broken off. When it branches off, it does so in 3's. The offshoots returned to normal.) I've also seen it occur on a common Milkweed. I've also seen it occur with dandelion blooms. (even more so if they got "fertilized" with weed killer.)

But an African violet?! Nope. This is Laughing Anna. I'm not sure if this is typical for the variety or if mine is a spontaneous mutation. I have a hunch it is a mutation. It isn't the first one I've had for that variety. (A year or two ago, I had a Laughing Anna produce a single huge flower and one small leaf from the center instead of two normal leaves.)

Anyways this is how the plant is affected. From the top:

Unusual symmetry. Leaves grow out at an equilateral triangle. Looks like it has a 180 degree rotation with the tip of the triangle pointing up or down every other leaf set.


Siamese twinning. On. every. Stalk.

Fewer flowers. Stalks twice as long and twice as thick. (To be fair, I didn't typically see lots of flowers per stalk before.)

Everything grows in sets of threes from the crown. Three leaves. Three bloom stalks.


Update 5-4-12:

It's still keeping to it's 3 leaf at a time growth pattern. As a result it is filling in quite quickly.

Oh No!

How this

became this....

#@$! crown rot. Lost seedpod is lost. It happens to the best of us. Losing an African violet is not the end of the world. Just do what you can to save it, and if that doesn't work, then start over. Whatever happens, does not mean having to give up on African Violets. Too many people get discouraged at this point. But even the best of gardeners can still end up killing a few plants (or more.)

Fortunately I have a back-up baby version of this variety. Now to figure out why this is happening and how to prevent it from attacking more of my violets. There are a few things that stand in mind. I haven't been consistent with watering. I think I let it dry out while I was at work. I could have gotten water in the crown when watering. Or I could have failed to clean my tools properly when removing suckers.

If you're wondering what happened, I put the crown in a fresh pot of soil and bagged it with a ziplock. I tried dusting some cinnamon around the base. It may recover. If not, then at least I tried.

I did find another affected violet a week later, but I hope I saved it by finding the wilted leaf and removing all the rot where it came from. I may have caught it early. Fortunately there was just one spot. I removed all the lower leaves for good measure.

Follow up: The plant died. It rotted in the bag. Everything. All into mush. I planted the 2nd gen leaf clone in a 4" pot. The starter is now beginning to grow into standard size. I hope it will bloom just as pretty when it gets to full size. I really miss it's unusual wide, almost thumbprint-like raspberry edging, solid pink middles, and coral eyes.