Annual or perennial. Stems leafy, branched, to 15 cm or more tall. Leaves ovate to lanceolate, bases cordate to wedge-shaped. Flowers 5-10 cm wide, roundish in outline; long-flowering, mostly summer.
These are the large-flowered garden pansies obtainable in a range of colours, from white to apricot, yellow-blue, red and multicolours in a range of cultivars too numerous and ephemeral to mention here.
A similar range of colours occurs in the smaller-flowered violas, V. cornuta.
Raised in the early 19th century; the parentage is complex, involving V. lutea, V. altaica and V. tricolor.
Parma Violets are a group of Sweet Violets difficult to define botanically and possibly not derived from V. odorata at all, as often claimed, but the Asian V. alba or E European V. suavis; they have large double flowers, small, pointed, glossy leaves and a compact habit; they do not develop runners and have an exquisite scent. Their origin is uncertain but Italy was once a centre of their cultivation, especially around the northern city of Parma. Four cultivars of Parma Violet are available in Australia:
VIOLA AND VIOLETTA CULTIVARS
Source: (1997). Violaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.
A fully double, large-flowered, pure white violet violet with glossy dark green heart-shaped foliage. Int. 1880. ['Comte Brazza', 'Swanley White']
Habit compact. Flowers lavender blue extremely fragrant. Int. 1870.
Compact, hardy and vigorous. Flowers elongated, medium-size, rich purple violet with a tiny white eye. Int. K. Gillanders, Woodbank Nursery, Tasmania.
An old cultivar with medium-size flowers, soft brown with yellow, overlaid brown-violet. Int. K. Gillanders, Woodbank Nursery, Tasmania.
Flowers abundant, small with chocolate brown upper petals and lower 3 petals bright golden yellow. Reputedly int. Gertrude Jekyll, the famous English garden designer.
Compact, robust plant. Flowers abundant, medium-size, rich, deep lavender blue. Int. to Australia by Honeysuckle Cottage Nursery in 1979.
Tall. Flowers on upright stems, silvery-mauve with a pale cream centre and a distinctive strongly sweet fragrance. Int. 1902 and still popular in the uk, usa and Australia.
Flowers double, deep lavender-mauve, very sweetly scented. Int. Germany in 1865.
Flowers lavender blue fully double, large, very fragrant flowers and glossy green heart-shaped foliage. Presumed to be the original Parma Violet found in Asia. ['Pallida Plena']