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Viola sororia - Willd.

Common Name Wooly Blue Violet, Common blue violet
Family Violaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist meadows, low woods and shady banks[43, 187], often on sandy substrates[274].
Range Eastern N. America - Quebec to Wyoming and south to Oklahoma and N. Carolina.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Viola sororia Wooly Blue Violet, Common blue violet


(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future
Viola sororia Wooly Blue Violet, Common blue violet

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Viola sororia is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower from March to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

V. chalcosperma

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves
Edible Uses: Tea

Young leaves and flower buds - raw or cooked[159, 177]. A mild flavour, they make an acceptable addition to mixed salads[K]. The leaves are often mixed with stronger tasting leaves from the cabbage family[183]. When added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as Okra[62, 85, 159, 183]. The leaves are rich in vitamins A and C[159, 183]. Flowers - raw. A mild flavour, they are an excellent attractive garnish for salads[K]. Rich in vitamin C[159].The flowers can also be made into jams, jellies etc[183]. A tea can be made from the leaves[85] or from the flowers[159].

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Analgesic  Poultice

A poultice of the leaves has been used to allay the pain of a headache[257]. An infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of dysentery, coughs and colds[257]. A poultice of the crushed root has been applied to boils[257].

References

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An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More

FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

Incense

An infusion of the root has been used to soak corn seeds before planting in order to keep off insects[257]. A dynamic accumulator gathering minerals or nutrients from the soil and storing them in a more bioavailable form - used as fertilizer or to improve mulch. Faunal Associations: The flowers are not often visited by insects (hence the need for cleistogamous flowers), but sometimes they attract bees (e.g., Mason, Halictid), skippers, Syrphid flies, and other insects. The Syrphid flies, however, feed only on stray pollen and are non-pollinating. The caterpillars of many Fritillary butterflies feed on the foliage, including Speyeria diane (Diana), Euptoieta claudia (Variegated Fritillary), Speyeria aphrodite (Aphrodite Fritillary), Boloria bellona (Meadow Fritillary), and Boloria selene myrina (Silver-Border Fritillary). The seeds have soft appendages that attract ants, which are in part distributed by them. Various upland gamebirds and small mammals occasionally eat the seeds, including the Wild Turkey, Bobwhite, Mourning Dove, and White-Footed Mouse. Wild Turkeys also eat the leaves and fleshy roots of Viola spp. (Violets). Although it is not a preferred food source, mammalian herbivores occasionally eat the foliage of violets, including the White-Tailed Deer, Cottontail Rabbit, and livestock [1-6].

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator  Food Forest

References

Cultivation details

Prefers a cool moist well-drained humus-rich soil in partial or dappled shade and protection from scorching winds. Tolerates sandstone and limestone soils but becomes chlorotic if the pH is too high. Prefers a pH between 6 and 6.5. There are a number of named varieties selected for their ornamental value[187]. Plants produce cleistogamous flowers as well as the usual insect pollinated flowers[187]. All members of this genus have more or less edible leaves and flower buds, though those species with yellow flowers can cause diarrhoea if eaten in large quantities[62, 85, 159]. Sometimes misspelt as Viola sororaria For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a runner spreading indefinitely by rhizomes or stolons [1-2]. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [1-2].

References

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in the autumn or just after flowering. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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