Violaceae, the violet family.
Plant: Low plant with basal leaves and solitary white flowers (blue in other variants) on separate stems, hairless to hairy, blooming in early spring. Perennial.
Flowers: White in this variant, blue-violet to blue and white striped in others, 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 separate pages for the blue and white variants of this flower,
as they could well be taken as different flowers.
The blue form is here (common blue violet),
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 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 in the park.