Saintpaulia is one of the most popular ornamental plants in the developed countries, with thousands of commercial varieties. It thus has considerable commercial value in the horticultural market, e.g. in 1994 alone the revenue from the sale of African violet by commercial growers in the USA was worth $27,863,000 (USDA, 1995). From the horticultural point of view, the wild species are an important resource for the improvement of commercial cultivars.
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