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Any plant of the genus Saintpaulia, of the gesneriad family, especially S. ionantha. African violets are native to high elevations in tropical eastern Africa. They are small, hairy, usually stemless herbaceous plants with crowded, long-stalked leaves. The violet, white, or pink flowers bloom most of the year. They are popular houseplants, and hundreds of varieties have been developed, including half-sized miniatures.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on African violet, visit Britannica.com.