Viola vilmoriana?

bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)August 25, 2007

For 30 years I have grown a tiny apricot yellow violet I have called V. vilmoriana. It blooms briefly in spring and has typical rounded leaves. Posting photos here has not worked. I do not see it listed on any websites and Wikipedia (a source I do not trust) has a fairly comprehensive list and vilmoriana is not there. It was purchased from Lamb's Nursery near Boring OR., I think.

I suppose they are long out of the trade.

Anyone want to guess if I am correct in my naming?

Going back to resize my photo and, perhaps, try for a third time to post it.

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etii(France 8)

Hello !

The "correct" name is Sulfurea (sulphurea can be found too). It supposed to have been discovered in France in 1896. Vilmoriana (also correct but less used) have been done by a british nursery man, I don't remember the whole story.
That violet is still a mystery 'cause it's supposed to have been found in the wild but no one knows where as no one has found it back's part of odorata gender but doesn't have any perfume.
It's a lovely one, isn't it ? Its blooms are kind of piece of gold among the green foliage :-) I do love it :-)
If you can post a pic, DO IT, it's always a pleasure to see some violets here :-)

Hope I gave the good answer :-)
All the best - Thierry.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 3:26AM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

Perhaps spelling it "vilmoriniana" (after the nurseryman, Vilmorin) will help you find more hits, but as Thierry says, it's more properly called Viola odorata 'Sulfurea'. I do find a light fragrance in its blooms at times, very nice and different from other violets. It also seems even hardier to winter cold than ordinary Viola odorata.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 12:34PM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

Thanks to you both. I love the way people come through for you in the forums. Vilmoriniana may have been the name I purchased it under, but at that time, I did not care or try to write it down. I think 60 kb is the biggest a picture can be, but when I crop the violet picture as much as I sensibly can, I am down to around 465 kb.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 7:54AM
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etii(France 8)

OK, here we go !
So here are the two pics bogturtle wanted to post without sucess (maybe AO-hell is responsible, donno):

Thanks for the pic bogturtle and no doubt it's viola odorata 'sulfurea'.

All the best - Thierry :-)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 9:15AM
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Mike Hardman(Cyprus, 100m altitude)


To reiterate what I wrote in the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials, 2006:

"Viola 'Sulfurea'

Creamy flowers with apricot throat; some plants a slightly buff colour, others slightly lemon; mostly unscented; from late winter to early spring. The names and descriptions of yellow flowered cultivars of V. odorata and the wild V. odorata var. sulfurea have become confused over many decades due to mislabeling and misspelling. None of 'Sulfurea', 'Sulphurea', 'Irish Elegance', 'Vilmoriniana', 'Vilmorinii', 'Lutea', 'Yellow Queen' and others can be reliably distinguished. 'Phyl Dove' and 'Crépuscule' differ through including pink in the colour scheme. Not to be confused with the bedding viola 'Sulphurea', which received an AGM in 1913.
Discovered by a postman on the edge of a wood in Indre, France around 1896."

etti - thanks for posting bogturtle's nice piccies
(and your boundless and perpetual enthusiasm!)


    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 7:45PM
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I think it will be better and correct wrote like this : Viola sulfurea.
Sorry Etii :-p
all the best for violet'friends ô_O

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 2:54PM
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I would make Irish Elegance distinct from the others.........

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 4:20PM
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nathalie has true orange flowers and foliage much more resistant to red spider than "other sulfurea types"...

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 4:28PM
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Mea culpa : I did not read correctly. the post from hardman.

ps: excuse me for my english ( to write, wrote, written,...etc etc )I should/must work at my english before learning german :-p )

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 4:36PM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

Nathalie, I don't suppose you have any pictures of 'Irish Elegance' somewhere that could help us differentiate it from 'Sulfurea', do you? I read in Roy Coombs' book that 'Irish Elegance' may have some fragrance while 'Sulfurea' is supposed to be scentless, and I have found at times a light fragrance in the plants I grow (it is a very different fragrance from regular Viola odorata, and very interesting). I have never seen any of these looking or being described as "orange", except maybe for their apricot-colored center. The plants do seem tougher and more resistant to spider mites and various pests than other violets, just like you say.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 9:05PM
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etii(France 8)

Something interesting on the way (like that):
Come on Nath', don't let us in such a waiting way, tell us more about odorata 'Irish Elegance' according to your own experience:-) Do you feel the same as stefanb8 concerning its perfume ?

Mike: thanks for compliment, nice of you :o) Glad you're back and to hear from you again !
Limyan: poor little boy ! Stop listening to yourself, it helps to learn and make languages easier ;oP Such a long time in Australia with such a few results...quel gâchis sans nom !

All the best - Thierry :-)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 7:17PM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

Thierry, you're a nut :) I'm glad you're here!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 11:13PM
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etii(France 8)

Stefan: thx for being here too :-) We are very a few people, but, well, not too bad finally. It's a little bit like a country place: no noise, no one running after time and so on. Couldn't be better :-)
Baudelaire: "tout est calme, luxe et volupté"

About viola 'crépuscule', I made a pic today, not too ugly for once ;-/

I do enjoy it, she's like a poem, orange colored during spring, yellow with a pink hearted touch for summer time, and finally both pink and yellow at the end of fall (my pic). Do you know any other flower changing color according to its mood (weather in fact) just to please eyes ?
I had always thought so called semi-perpetual flowering violets were a kind of legend but now, I know they are not :-)) But don't think it's easy, viola 'königin Charlotte' didn't make the same this year however it's supposed to be semi-perpetual as well and I don't know why...

Kind violet regards - Thierry :-)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 12:18PM
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Actually stefan i do have pictures! I will have to ask etii to do that for me!!!! :o)

Probably cultivars have been mislabelled but at least I grow 2 types of creamy violets...I've got Irish elegance from a french nursery man who got it in england...
Can't remember from where I've got the creamy one because I grow it for ages but it is from france...
Amazingly, I also grow an orange odorata from the wild (south west of france)...Marc Espeut, a french botanist of violets said it had never be described...and it is very close to irish elegance...( so this is why i consider only 2 groups....despite 3 origins!!)
Oh the mess!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 12:29PM
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etii(France 8)

Here we go:

Viola 'Irish elegance' From our Nathalie:

I do not see any difference with 'sulfurea' :-/ Maybe the colour is deeper (hard to say with a pic).


    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 12:55PM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

Wow, thanks Nathalie! (and Thierry, for posting the pic!)

I can't see a striking difference from what I remember my found 'Sulfurea' from Minnesota looking like, but memories can be funny that way. I'm having my mother send me a small plant of it with a package when she has a chance, and then I can compare and take pictures.

I wonder where all this violet is really native to - information seems to point only to France. Coombs says it was found near Forez and Lyons. I wish we knew who originally named 'Irish Elegance'!

Thierry, does 'Crépuscule' have any scent?

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 1:38PM
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Yes! bogturtle grows the same violet!!! let's see if etii will post the paler one I grow!!! lol ;-)p

About the scent as usual I can't say...( to much parmas all around!!)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 1:46PM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

I found a picture of one Devon Violet Nursery is selling as 'Sulphurea Vilmorini', and it is much paler by comparison - I believe mine look more like Nathalie's picture than this. Check it out; does this look like the other 'Sulfurea' you know, Nathalie?

Boy, do I wish we could order violets from Devon... they sell so many you can't find here in America!


    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 1:49PM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

I found a picture of my 'Sulfurea' violets from home (forgot I even had it!); they are paler than the dark ones posted above, although there may be some color distortion in the photo.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 2:16PM
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etii(France 8)

God, so many delicious pics !!!! YES, sooooooooooo good ;o))) I gonna fall into orgasmic moments 8-P Many THANKS:-)

Nath': no way, no pic of my 'sulfurea', I've got a problem getting white or pale blooms with my camera :-/ But, as far as I can remember, mine is not that much pale...

Stefan: 'crépuscule' is scentless, unfortunately. Devon sells anything, definitively. I've bought an 'Empress Augusta' n received a 'Queen Charlotte', not serious :-/ The 'baby blue' I've bought was so small that it died easily and quickly. Moreover, £3.99 for a violet, it's really expensive. Groves's better, even if £40 for a shipping to France is a big kick in the a-- :'(

Cordialement - Thierry :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: GROVES :-)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 2:58PM
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etii(France 8)

Second pic from Nathalie:

Nat at all like mine, such a light yellow. Finally, who's who ? I don't understand anything...

All the best - Thierry :-)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 4:59PM
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membertom(zone 6)

I've noticed quite a bit of variation in the color of 'Sulfurea' seedlings that have popped up. Some have been as dark as the 'Irish Elegance' picture that Thierry posted for Nathalie. Others are almost as pale as the second picture (from Novemeber 23).
As for scent, I've detected a faint scent in the 'Sulfurea' I've grown. To me it's reminiscent of "horse" -- earthy, not unpleasant. I've noticed a similar scent lingering in the background of some odorata, behind the sweetness. 'Sulfurea' (to me) has the "horsey" note without the usual odorata sweetness.
And before my fellow odorata-philes jump up in defense... I really do like the scent of odoratas!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 2:02PM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

That's really interesting! It might explain why I remember mine being darker; some of them may well have been.

I know just what you mean when you talk about the "horse" smell beneath the typical odorata's sweet perfume; the 'Sulfurea' I grew had a distinctly coconut-like smell, sweet and not at all animal. There could be considerable variation in fragrance within the population, I suppose; I've noticed some real differences among odorata cultivars too. The coconut scent was so light that the horse note would probably overwhelm it, if it was present. I bet this would be a lot of fun for a biochemical researcher to study.

I also love the smell of odorata, even the ones with the faint suggestion of animal. I think the perfume is more complex, unique and interesting than the Parmas, which I also love to smell, of course - just not in the same way.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 6:37PM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

I've been reading and re-reading Roy Coombs' book on violets to try to make sure I understand the supposed differences between 'Irish Elegance' and 'Sulfurea', which at first glance, he lumps together. What's interesting is that he seems to imply that of the lighter and darker forms, 'Irish Elegance' is in fact one of the paler type. What he says is this: 'Sulfurea' has "...creamy primrose flowers with deep apricot...centres" (from his own description), while he refers to a description by Roy Genders of 'Irish Elegance' that includes "...creamy-buff flowers", which he means to tenuously link to old descriptions of a "khaki-coloured violet" (which he can't quite reconcile with the coloring of 'Sulfurea', as he knows it). Then he mentions that 'Irish Elegance' may well have had a fragrance as it was said to have, although he consistently refers to 'Sulfurea' as scentless.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 6:56PM
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nathalie this point the question is to know if it is admitted or not that there may be 2 kinds of those creamy violets.....
Of course mine are probably mislabelled and what you describes Stefanb8 confirms it...

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 5:21AM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

Hmm... I wonder, if we can have deeper-colored hybrids like 'Crepuscule', maybe there could also have been a hybrid between 'Sulfurea' and a white form of Viola odorata or Viola alba, which could have contributed some fragrance and pale color. It would be nice to have genetic testing done... even just to find out the basic relationship between V. odorata and 'Sulfurea' types (or maybe I should say, V. vilmorini, since that has never been dealt with scientifically!).

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 11:08AM
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membertom(zone 6)

In addition to the possibility of direct first generation hybrids that you mentioned (between 'Sulfurea' and a white odorata), there could also be second generation derivatives (of 'Sulfurea' with any common purple odorata) that could appear to be 'Sulfurea' but have changes in scent or other traits.
I haven't yet grown very many F2 from my F1 'Sulfurea' hybrid [ X 'Clive Groves' - which is a nicely scented dark purple odorata], but the few that I have seen so far, would suggest that there will be a whole range of colors, scents and growth habits.
I'll include a link below so you can get a better idea what I mean.

Here is a link that might be useful: Some Sulfurea Derivatives

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 8:11AM
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membertom(zone 6)

Here's another picture showing a few of the F2 seedlings [from 'Sulfurea' X 'Clive Groves'] more close-up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Another picture of F2 odorata's

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 9:15AM
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etii(France 8)

Hi !

Lovely pictures especially the last one, I do love the violet on the left, with a yellow heart and some light purple and pink on its petals: it's just GORGEOUS and never seen before.
What's its name Tom ?? Seriously, just BEAUTIFUL :-) In a way, a baroque flower with 3 colors :-) Viola tricolor ;oP

The yellow hearted violet with dark purple petals is strange (first pic). In fact, such an ulgy one LOL !!! Those colors are not matched well, but it's funny :-) God, French people would say it has been fashioned in England according to what we call here british taste (sorry for that: european mates are used to joke each other).

All the best - Thierry :-)

PS: GREAT post with many pictures and interesting chat :o)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 11:52AM
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membertom(zone 6)

Thank you very much Thierry!
None of those violets pictured have names except for 'Sulphurea' itself. I'll probably register a few of those seedlings later on, if any of them prove to be different enough from already existing violets. And I can appreciate why you like the yellow/pink/purple blended seedling best; I think it's one of the prettiest combinations too.
But I have to confess that I like the strange "British-fashioned" one too ;0) [no offense whatsoever intended to anyone - just good-natured joking]. I'd actually like to hybridize with this one to try to exagerate the orange in the center -- and reduce the purple to being just an edging -- sort of like the pattern of the Viola 'Etain' [I know that's a pansy-type, so you're probably going to recoil in horror ;0)]. So keep that in mind if you look at the link below. But I think it would be attractive.

By the way, I guess it should be in another thread but I'd love to hear how your sororia/odorata hybrids doing?? I haven't had much luck in my attempts, so your success keeps me encouraged to try some more.

Thanks again, Tom

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to picture of 'Etain'

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 1:30PM
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Well done Tom! That's really exciting! I exactelly can imagine your sweet violet 'Etain' like!

( Welcome to your breedings for the next contest! ;-) !!!)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 3:48PM
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etii(France 8)

Hello !

Nice to have a little bit of fun :-) Always a pleasure.
The yellow/pink/purple violet is really unique n special. I don't remember to have seen a 3 colored violet before. Did you Nath' ? Definitively a wonderful one :-))

You're totally rigth, we all need to be encouraged by other floks' attempts. I wish you success creating a violet 'etain': crossed fingers.

About my odorata alba X sororia albiflora. Well, it's making some very small blooms right now, like odoratas can do in between-season. The foliage is having a strange behaviour as well, some leaves are dying 'cause of the cold like sororia does, and some other are still alive like odorata. It's really hairy too.

Here are 2 pics I made of the very small bloom. I don't think my hybrid is that crazy or beautiful, but its behaviour is fun :o)

Another one: (sorry for bad quality)

Here another one concerning foliage:

All the best - Thierry :-)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 6:02PM
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membertom(zone 6)

Thanks Nathalie! Unfortunately, none of these violets has grown enough yet for good enough pictures (to enter in the upcoming contest). But, I should be able to at least get together pictures of my Viola striata X walteri [Viola x cooperrideri]. And while on that subject, I should be completing the registrations from the two previous competitions very soon; and can hardly wait to see what the next competition brings!
And thanks again Thierry! Maybe we can convert you to liking pansies after all!! ;0)
And thanks for keeping us up to date on your odorata X sororia hybrid. Cool pictures of that very fascinating plant!!! But hey!!! You didn't even mention if there is any scent. And I've never grown any of the 'Governor Herrick' types so I'm totally unfamiliar with them. It looks like your hybrid has runners/stolons rather than the stubby rhizomes of sororia. So, is that typical of these kind of hybrids to resemble odorata more in that respect??
Thanks again guys, for all of the encouragement.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 7:38AM
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etii(France 8)

Liking pansies: don't think about it Tom :oP I tried some, they don't like me ;o) Never saw such an easy dying plant LOL ! Bad luck ? ;o) Well...."Brace yourself, God will help you" or something like that...

About my 'coeur de Lyon' - it should be its name, except if I change my mind - SCOOP ;o): it's really too cold to say if it's perfumed but I guess it won't have any. Let's wait until spring to be sure. Yes, it does have runners and many :-P
You should try 'royal elk' my favorite one (light scent -not always- but giant flowers). I can't hardly wait until I try 'Emile Prévot' (prévot or prévost ? can't remember) another sororia X odorata hybrid.
You're totally right, most of 'Governor Herrick' types look like more odorata than sororia: why ? Sometimes it seems that those kind of hybrids take what's the best in both according to the season. 'Mrs Pinehurst' (I enjoy calling it pinedhuitre with a friend of mine, just easy to have for a french spoken guy and funny nickname, pine d'huitre = small dick in French - I can't stop kidding, sorry) is wondeful and unique with its blue/purple face. By the way, you can find it called odorata 'pinehurst' in nurseries here: except in color, it's quite like any odorata even if it's scentless. I don't like much 'Governor Herrick'...however it's hard to make the difference from 'pinehurst'...petals are strangely shaped I think, maybe a bit like viola canadensis...when a violet goes to the dogs, it looks like a pansy ;op

Take care - Thierry :-)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 4:29AM
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membertom(zone 6)

It's hard for me to believe that you've had so much trouble with pansies dying for you, especially since you have such success with violets. Actually, I had a rough time keeping any odorata (other than 'Sulfurea') alive until I got my own hybridized strains going. You did try to grow them during the Fall/Winter/Spring, right?? Not during the Summer?? Because as you probably already know, all the pansies become miserable in the Summer.
Thanks for the suggestion of 'Royal Elk', I'll have to be on the lookout for that one.
And thanks for all the laughs.
I'll be looking forward to registering your 'coeur de Lyon' (or different name if you choose) into the official violet registry. By the way, if you enter it in the international contest (even by photograph) it automatically becomes registered (without any additional fees). I'm sure that soon, Nathalie will be giving details of the next upcoming one. I don't think there are any 'Governor Herrick' types (odorata/sororia hybrids) in existence that are colors other than purple. So your white, is very unique.
And for a laugh back at you...
since I don't understand French I used Babelfish translation to see what "coeur" meant. Oh... 'Heart of Lyon', that's a very nice name. But then curiosity got the better of me -- I wanted to see what the literal translation was for your other French lesson. It comes back with something vulgar about an oyster.
It's always good to start the day with some chuckles.
Best wishes, Tom

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 7:47AM
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so..finally, babelfish is not that bad!

About next contest well...I am waiting for 'officials' feedbacks and agreements from Italy who offered to organise the next international violet meeting...and it should take place in just time enough for raisers to get prepared on time!!!
Thanks again Tom for your support and link with the offical violet register! :-)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 5:58AM
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