I come back from lunch on Monday and there's a cardboard box with a couple of these that I'm supposed to repot. So I didn't meet the owner (hoping to this morning, maybe), but I desperately want to know where these came from.
There is a down side, that being that even by Saintpaulia standards, the leaves were terrifyingly brittle. I had, naturally, intended to take a leaf or two anyway, because . . . well, how the hell could I not, you know? But one of the repottings was actually a division, and the two plants that were together were so intertwined with one another that every time I touched them, or tried to move a leaf aside to untangle something, something broke off. It was horrible. I mean, I have dreams like this. (Not dreams about Saintpaulia specifically, but dreams about finding something super cool and new and awesome and then losing it or destroying it somehow. Often in the dreams, the valuable objects in question are turtles, which has sort of been explained already.) In the end, I brought a leaf home, I kept two at work to try to start plants from, and the remainder (about 7-10 of them) I stuck in a glass of water to give to the owner, who hopefully will understand about the brittleness (and maybe appreciate that I cleaned mineral deposits off of the old pots for a lot longer than the boss would have wanted me to, I bet).
Anyway. So: did everybody else already know about these? What might the name of this cultivar be? If I'm able to get anything useful from the owner (places, names, dates), I'll let you know.
Just tell me, next time, when somebody comes up with something this cool. I mean, damn. I tell you guys.
UPDATE: So I talked to her a couple hours ago, and she said that she had no idea where it came from, that her sister-in-law had given them to her a long time ago. She was able to tell me that it blooms, and the flowers are infrequent and light yellow. So, not a lot of information, but still more than I knew before.
I hope everybody does go and check out alenka's links, in comments: some very cool, weird, or cool and weird stuff there.
SECOND UPDATE: All of the leaves at work or at home have already failed as of 28 December 2007. This isn't really surprising to me, given the general coldness and wetness at this time of year, and my inexperience with Saintpaulia.
THIRD UPDATE: There is now a Saintpaulia ionantha cvv. profile post up, if anyone reading this is interested.