Blue violet: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information about blue violet

Blue violet is a hardy, herbaceous flowering perennial of the Violaceae family. The familiar leaves are heart-shaped, slightly downy, especially beneath, on stalks rising alternately from a creeping rhizome or underground stem, the blades of the young leaves rolled up from each side into the middle on the face of the leaf into two tight coils. The flower-stalks arise from the axils of the leaves and bear single flowers, with a pair of scaly bracts placed a little above the middle of the stalk.

The flowers are generally deep purple, but lilac, pale rose-colored or white variations are also frequent, and all these tints may sometimes be discovered in different plants growing on the same bank. The sweet-scented violet appears at the end of February and has finished blooming by the end of April.

They bear five sepals extended at their bases, and five unequal petals, the lower one lengthened into a hollow spur beneath and the lateral petals with a hairy centre line. The anthers are united into a tube round the three-celled capsule, the two lower ones furnished with spurs which are enclosed within the spur of the corolla.

common names & nomenclature
Viola refers to the violet color of the flowers and odorata refers to the sweet scent of the flowers.

Also known as:
sweet violet, blue violet, english violet, garden violet, purple violet, sweet-scented violet, violet, wood violet, common violet, florist’s violet

Blue Violet, the sweetly-scented flower
Blue violet: Where in the World
habitat and range for blue violet

Viola odorata is native to Europe and Northern Asia. Along with many regions in North America, Viola odorata can also be found in most of Europe, northwards to the British Isles, Southern Scandinavia, Lithuania, Central Russia, North Africa, the Mediterranean region and West Asia.

Blue violet: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting blue violet

Blue violet is most often found in open deciduous woods, pastures, moist meadows and swamps.

Blue violet prefers a rich, moist, sandy soil with a sheltered position.

Blue violets grow readily from underground runners, or you can grow from seed. To grow from seed—place a bag over the seed heads to capture ripening seed and allow pods to dry on the plant; break open pods to collect seeds. Sow seeds directly into garden soil outdoors in fall or in the winter sow in vented containers, cold frame or unheated greenhouse. Be sure to stratify the seed if sowing indoors.

Harvest Blue violet leaves and flowers as they come into bloom in Spring. If the plant has underground runners spreading, then you may harvest the entire plant, just cut the runners at the base and leave them below the soil to grow into new plants.

Dry the flowers and leaves by lying them flat on screens in a dry place, or if harvesting the entire plant, hang the plant upside-down to dry in a cool, dry area. Store dried parts, whole or cut into pieces, in an airtight container.

Blue violet: The Rest of the Story
blue violet history, folklore, literature & more

Blue violet (Viola odorata), also known as sweet violet and English violet, is a highly aromatic herb used in beverage, cosmetic and perfume industries.