A fleeting part of early spring, the graceful violet flower grows low to the ground with a self-effacing demeanor. Its striking, colorful appearance makes it eye-catching, yet, it’s not just a pretty face.
In this article we cover the following topics:
- The meaning of the violet flower and its name
- Interesting Facts about the violet flower
- The violet flowers many uses
- Is the violet flower edible
- How to identify a violet flower
The Meaning of the Violet Flower and its Name
Known as the ‘Flower of Modesty’, due to their ability to hide their beautiful flowers within their heart-shaped leaves, Violet flowers hold a history of their own. These innocent ‘onlookers’ of creation are often associated with love, virtue, faithfulness, modesty, humility, and happiness and have over 200 different names. Some of which are:
Stemmed from the violet flower’s old use as a medicine to treat heart disease, people believed that God gave the plant heart-shaped leaves due to this use very reason. This name was also derived from its ancient use as an aphrodisiac and a love potion in urban folklore.
It is said that wild violets were Napoleon’s favorite flower. He apparently gifted Josephine, his first wife, with violets on their wedding day, and every wedding anniversary thereafter, this may have something to do with its enigmatic aroma. Their claim to fame, however, was solidified when Napoleon donned the name: Caporal Violette upon his exile.
It is Famous in Greek Mythology
Not only is the violet flower a symbol of Athens, Greece, but it was one of Greece’s favorite flowers. Its enigmatic scent made it the emblematic flower of Aphrodite and her first son, Priapus. He was said to be abandoned at birth by his mother, as she left him lying in the Arkadian wilds on a bed of violets. Once found, he was named ‘Iamus’ after the violet bed.
Interesting Facts about The Violet flower
- The violet is the official Valentine’s Day flower – according to legend, St. Valentine grew violets and made the ink he used to write his ever-famous love letters with them; thus it is commonly known as the official Valentine’s Day flower.
- Due to its exquisite beauty, the violet flower was declared the state flower of Illinois, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island and is the symbol of Athens.
- The Common Violet flower is February’s birth flower.
- Violet flowers are believed to be a symbol of good luck for women.
- Dreaming of violets is said to indicate nearing success and achievement. It is also said to resemble a spiritual significance in one’s life.
- There are approximately 500 different species of violets, globally. However, these do not include the African violet, which is, in fact, a totally different genus known as Gesneriaceae.
- Violets prefer semi-shaded areas with indirect sunlight and lots of moisture.
The Violet flowers Many Uses
Furthermore, despite its captivating appearance and fixating scent, the violet flower is said to have many uses. The entire plant has been said to have medicinal properties and its leaves hold a plethora of vitamins A & C. The leaves were often made into tea for this very reason.
Violets are also used in cough syrup to relieve chest congestion in Greek and Chinese medicine. Its herbal medicinal properties were also known to aid the lymphatic system, respiratory ailments, insomnia, and skin disorders, and has a long tradition of use in the treatment of cancer and heart disease.
Less typically, the violet flower was used as an aphrodisiac and was said to be used as a love potion in ancient folklore. The famous Oberon, a character featured in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, mentions that the secret to a powerful love potion lies in “the purple, yellow, and white wildflower.”
He states, “The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid/will make man or woman madly dote/upon the next live creature that it sees.”
In the early 20th century, the violet flower’s popular and distinctive scent was used in the production of cosmetics and cosmetic fragrances in the late Victorian period and has consequently been used ever since.
Is the Violet flower Edible?
Yes, they are, the flowers and leaves of violet flowers and leaves are edible. They are often used in garden salads, used to add flavor to liquors or cooked with greens. The flowers are often also made into beautiful jellies, candied, or simply used for aesthetic appeal. The flower is commonly known to be used in syrup in french cuisine, scones, and sweets such as; marshmallows and syrups.
How to Identify a Violet Flower?
Although there are said to be over 500 species of violets, all these species have a distinctive and delicate flower that shows a slight irregularity. The pansy, for example, is a flower you may be familiar with, a more commonly known member of the violet family.
Violet flowers are perennial with leaves that are simple, with either two leaves that arise from the stem at the same level on opposite sides of the stem (at the same node) or with a spiral pattern where each leaf arises at a different point (node) on the stem.
The flower itself has five sepals, five stamens, and five petals; the bottom petal is larger than the top petal. The violet flowers ovary is positioned superior and consists of three united carpels that form a single chamber. The flowers itself is made up of a beautiful yellow center and petals that, despite their name, range from periwinkle blue to midnight blue – resembling the true color of magic.
They grow inconspicuously along the ground and steal your sense of smell with their subtle yet beautiful fragrance. They truly are nature’s delicacy.