Violaceae, the violet family.
Plant: Low plant with basal leaves and solitary blue-violet to blue and white to white flowers on separate stems, hairless to hairy, blooming in early spring. Perennial.
Flowers: Blue-violet to blue and white striped to pure white, with five petals and five sepals. Solitary on long stems. The flowers are bilaterally symmetric; the lower petal is spurred, the and the two on either side bearded. Flowers and leaves are on separate basal stems, which distinguishes this violet from some other species.
Leaves: Basal, heart-shaped, 1"-3" wide, toothed or scalloped, on long stems. The leaves and stems may be hairless or hairy.
Fruit: A three-valved capsule.
Habitat: Fields, lawns, clearings.
This is a highly variable species, with flowers ranging from deep blue to pure white,
and in various combinations.
We have provided a separate page for the white variant of this flower
(common blue violet white), as it could well be taken as a different flower.
Formerly, this group was divided into a number of species, separated by characteristics
such as hairiness of the leaves.
More recent practice has been to recognize a single, highly variable species.
The flowers open in very early spring on some plants, others may bloom until late May or early
June - another variable characteristic.
The flowers of the blue violets are sometimes candied, and the leaves have been used
in soups for their mucilaginous qualities similar to okra.
The roots have a reputation for being emetic, and should probably not be eaten.
Where to find it:
Widely scattered in lawn areas and wood boundaries. Not particularly common here,
at least circa 2009.