This attachment is of the very first flowers to bloom in March of last year from a open pollinated seedling. These are not the winter flowering type.
This is a poor example of a bedding viola ,flower wise as explained below. This if measured against the standards laid down by the NVPS.
The rays or whiskers on the face of the bloom(-a definite down marking standard wise to the purist or florist grower )-are somewhat an attraction, it is admitted, to many growers.
It is thought that the Viola evolved these rays to attract pollinators.
However Florists – this term relates to growers in pursuit of flower perfection ( not flower sellers as the term means today) many years ago dedicated their horticultural lives trying to eliminate them for show purposes.
As interest declined- the numbers of specialist Florist nurseries ,at one time over 400 were engaged in breeding violas in this country slowly dried up ,then the rays crept back in again as non specialist growers took over, and now very few bedders are without them, only a few true Florist cultivars exist.
If these were animals or insects, bees ,butterflies or birds then pressure would be mounted to save these endangered items from being lost for ever.
The very rare original Exhibition Violas still being grown by members of the Society are ray free.
The second attachment shows a flower of Conner Glendinning-(Exhibition Viola) which shows an example of a rayless bloom.