Pansy History and Development

John Milton
Lycidas (1637)
The tufted crow-toe, and pale gessamine,
The white pink, and the pansy freaked with jet,
The glowing violet,
The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine,
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,
And every flower that sad embroidery wears;

Salmon: Double Pansy (1710)

Sinclair: History of the Pansy (1835)

Dean: "Blotch" and "Belted" in Pansies (1893)

The Gardeners' Chronicle, 3rd serie. 19: 727 (June 13, 1896)
During the last two decades a most interesting kind of tufted Pansy has been raised, viz., the Rayless Violas, which have flowers of but one colour, free from the ordinary dark rays or streaks, whence their name. The first time I find any mention made of them is in 1881, when in The Garden W. Robinson related that at Laing's of Stanstead Park Nurseries, he saw two kinds of such Pansies (Hybrida alba and Golden Queen of Spring). Not until the very last years of the eighties did they become more widely known. Then appeared Charles Stuart's well-known Violetta, a very small-flowering almost pure-white fragrant tufted Pansy, the product of a cross between Viola cornuta, L, as the female parent, and the Pansy Blue King as the male plant. Dr. Stuart lays special stress on the fact that in hybridisation with V. cornuta it should be used as the female, and the Pansy chosen for the occasion as the male plant, if a progeny be desired resembling V. cornuta as regards perfume and perennial duration. Violetta has in turn produced a numerous offspring (among others, the celebrated Sylvia), which, together with other rayless tufted Pansies, play an important part in the shows of the Scottish and English Pansy societies.

The Gardeners' Chronicle, 3rd series. 26(656): 62 (July 22, 1899)
Passing on to the question of Tufted Pansies, as he calls the plants commonly alluded to as Violas, Dr. Stuart went into the origin of his well-known hybrids on the genus. Following the idea, started by Mr. Wills, of crossing Viola cornuta from the Pyrenees and the garden Pansy, to increase the hardihood of the cultivated varieties, Dr. Stuart chose "Blue King" as the pollen parent, and was able to raise a dozen hybrid seedlings from Viola cornuta. Their flowers showed the long spur of the mother, but were markedly different from known varieties. The reciprocal cross resulted in straggling plants with Pansy-like flowers, that were of no interest horticulturally speaking. By again crossing the first hybrids with garden Pansies, a number of the large flowered kinds were obtained. Much interesting information was also given by Dr. Stuart with regard to hybrid Aquilegias, Trollii, and Primulas.

Stuart: Breeding hardy garden plants (1900)

Clausen: Inheritance of Velutina in Viola tricolor. (1930)