‘Viola’ The Common Violet

Quick disclaimer: This content is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. I am not a medical professional and the information contained on this blog should not be used to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease or health illness. Read my full disclaimer to learn more.


If you live in North America I’ll bet you have Violets growing in your yard. You may have never given these flowers a second thought as you’re walking through or mowing but what fascinates me is that we all have so many essential plants growing in our yards and most of these plants are viewed as weeds or ‘ugly’.

Many people believe that they should be removed so that grass will fill in, but what many people never realize is how essential it is to have these plants growing in our yards.

Identifying Violets

Violets will stand out in your yard or landscaping as they are not grassy, but are small plants that have heart-shaped leaves that look like tiny pumpkin leaves. When they are in bloom, they have thin, long stems that hold a blue flower that has five petals. Two lateral petals and a lower petal that’s spurred. The common Blue Violet has a white throat, as seen in the photo above.

They are self-seeding and will pop up in random places year after year due to birds and insects carrying the seeds through your yard.

They are very hardy plants that can thrive in a wide variety of habitats. Although they prefer areas with full sun and well-draining soil.


Also Read: Dandelions, more than weeds


Benefits

Violets are beneficial for pollinators as they attract pollinating insects, who burrow deep inside the flower to release the pollen. Ants have a symbiotic relationship with violets as the ants feed on the seedpods which is an oily, sugar-rich appendage called an elaiosome that ants can’t get enough of! They eat the outer layer and leave the seed, which allows another plant to grow the following year.

Humans can benefit from violets as well, as violet’s leaves and flowers are edible!

When harvesting, look for young leaves and flowers that are open.

The greens can be served steamed or raw and added to salads, soups, or sandwiches. They are high in vitamins A and C.

The flowers are also high in vitamin C, are anti-inflammatory, and are a blood cleanser. They can be eaten raw or used in making infused oils or salves for insect bites, eczema, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids.

Like dandelions, I remember as a child, picking violet flowers with my grandma and adding them as a beautiful garnish on a bowl of soup. I really cherish those memories and I know that is what sparked my obsession with the natural world.

Do you have violets in your yard? I encourage you to go take a look and enjoy these wild wonders.

As photographers and conservationists, Richard and I are always looking for ways to preserve nature and bring awareness to the beauty and benefits of plants that we see every day, but maybe never give a second thought to.

Inspired by our love of nature and Botanical Illustrations, we’ve created pieces of art that bring our passion for plants and photography together.

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