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|Cultivar group||Parma Violet|
The origins of the parma violet are unknown, though they have been shown to be derived from two different Viola alba strains. It was first imported into Naples in the latter part of the 19th century, when Count Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza took the plant to Udine. There are no records of his work, though it is widely believed that he deliberately crossbred to produce at least two varieties of parma. One of these is still available, whereas the other one is romantically believed to languish in some forgotten back garden somewhere, just waiting to be rediscovered.
Parma violets are widely believed to be sterile, and there is much store laid by their reproduction through cuttings. Armand Millet, a French violet grower, proved this belief to be a myth, however, and with the right conditions any sturdy violet could well produce a seed pod.
The d'Udine Parma violet features large, bluish-lavender flowers and a strong perfume.
The Neapolitan displays much paler flowers, although it very rarely blooms - it seems to be far more selective about its living conditions.
There is, also, a single variety of white parma: the Comte De Brazza. Hardy, and with a sweetly delicate perfume, the Comte produces pure white blooms, which in some climates, produce pale blue tips when they are exposed to plenty of good, strong spring sunlight.
The once much sought after Creme Yvette was a liqueur made of this particular strain of violets.
- Malécot, V.; Marcussen, T.; Munzinger, J.; Yockteng, R.; Henry, M. (2007). "On the origin of the sweet-smelling Parma violet cultivars (Violaceae): wide intraspecific hybridization, sterility, and sexual reproduction". American Journal of Botany 94 (1): 29–41.
- "International Cultivar Authority Registry Of The Genus Viola".
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