Scientific name: Viola sp.

The violet is a stemless low-growing perennial which features heart-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers of various colors. There are literally dozens of species of this plant and hybrids as well. They have beautiful white and blue flowers and are one of the most important host plants for butterflies.

If not treated with chemicals, these flowers are a pretty, edible garnish for foods and desserts.

Native Dog Violet (also known as Alpine Violet)


Distinctive heart-shaped, scalloped leaves.



Each flower is made up of five petals and sits upon a leafless stalk. The scent of the viola is so captivating that it is used in the making of perfumes.

Blooming Season

Early spring, April to May.

Fun Facts

Great choice for a shade garden! They are deer resistant.

Culinary Uses

If not treated with chemicals, the viola flower is edible and makes for a pretty garnish in salads or desserts. The greens are a good source of antioxidants.  Grow some yourself.


They are found in full to part shade in moist hummus rich soils. They will naturally pop up in your yard if you do not use harmful weed killer or ‘weed and feed’ chemicals.

Ecosystem Connections

The viola is a critical plant for the Spangled Fritillary butterfly as this is the host plant for the caterpillar. In the summer or late fall the female lays her eggs near viola plants. In the spring, when the eggs hatch, they depend upon the viola for their meals until they become a chrysalis.

Human Connections

Violets have many associations from birth flower (the month of March), as a state flower (Illiniois and Rhode Island) and as a symbol of lesbian love!  The last connection is based on poems by Sappho, in which she describes a lost love of wearing “violet tiaras..”

How You Can Help

Leave some violas to be along the edges of your yard and do not disturb them or tidy up around them as this will disturb the caterpillars who are waiting to become butterflies in the spring. Its good to not clean up nature!

More on Flowers and Grasses in Lewisboro