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Is it OK to ID my Violets?

 
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So---you have a NOID. You want a name. Did you buy it at a Big Box store? If the pot label says grown in Canada, most likely it was grown by Harster and you can look HERE. If it has an Optimara label go HERE. You will be in for some difficult searching, and the photos may not show the true color, and some plants are nearly identical.

Keep in mind that Optimara actually expects you to go to their website to ID their violets. I am not sure about Harster. Optimara and Harster each produce 10 million violets per year to sell world-wide in stores. They are not so concerned about selling to violet collectors who must have their plants correctly named.

If your violet is neither Optimara nor Harster, you may be out of luck. If it was given to you, ask the person who gave it to you. If they don't know the name or the hybridizer, you are at a dead end for sure.

Even if they only know the hybridizer, your chance is slim at best. Many hybridizers produce hundreds of violets and not all are well-documented. Take "Kaper" and "Topps" for instance, which were purchased directly from Richter's Greenhouse. There are no records of Kaper or Topps in any of the Master Lists or AVSA magazines. Alice and Forrest Richter passed away, so I can't ask them.

Kaper and Topps would be impossible to identify if they lost their IDs. However, if I dropped their IDs on the floor, I would be able to re-attach their names because I am only choosing between my own two plants.

It is important to understand the difference between having good documentation and searching from scratch. "I am absolutely sure this is an Optimara", or, "I dropped the tag on this baby plant that I grew from my own collection" are both good starting points. However, the plant in an unmarked container passed down from a friend or relative is a cherished gift but one that will remain without a name. Make a label with the name of the person who gave it to you. "In memory of..." or something of the sort, but please don't try to guess the name.

Another thing to remember is some plants were never named. They were simply sold or shared because they are pretty. It is wrong to attach the name of a similar looking violet to a violet that never had a name.

Thanks for collecting and sharing responsibly!


 
 

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