African violet is perhaps the only full-blown paradox that can survive on a windowsill. On one hand, it is a celebrated show plant, with new cultivars eagerly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. It has its own organization, the African Violet Society of America, and its own magazine, African Violet. A quick Internet search reveals that there are almost as many African violet sites as there are pages for sex and dieting. And yet, these plants are mass-produced by the hundreds of thousands and are readily available for a minuscule price from mom and pop garden centers, enormous mega-merchandisers, and a host of medium-size vendors.