viola(redirected from Alto viola)
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family of stringed musical instruments having wooden bodies whose backs and fronts are slightly convex, the fronts pierced by two f-hole-shaped resonance holes. The instruments of the violin family have been the dominant bowed instruments because of their versatility,
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(violet) a genus of plants of the family Violaceae. The plants are perennial or, less commonly, annual herbs; there are a few subshrubs. The mostly stipulate leaves are alternate or in a radical rosette. The violet, yellow, white, or multicolored flowers are solitary. The corolla is irregular; the lower petal has a spur that includes the nectaries of the two lower stamens. The plants are characterized by the formation of cleistogamous flowers. The fruit is a capsule that dehisces into three valves.
There are about 500 violet species, distributed throughout the world. Most species occur in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere and in the Andes. The USSR has about 100 species. The sweet violet (V. odorata), found mainly in broad-leaved forests of the European USSR, the Crimea, and the Caucasus, has been cultivated since ancient times as an ornamental and, sometimes, as an essential-oil plant. V. tricolor, a weed found in the European USSR and in southern Western Siberia, served as one of the parent species (together with V. altaica and several other species of Viola) of the garden pansy (V. × wittrockiana), numerous varieties of which are common in floriculture.
M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV