Index- plants in this Family
Violaceae / Violet
Violets (Viola )
Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant. The plants fall into two disticnct groups; those with stems and the stemless or acaulescent (characterized on this site as having basal leaves only).
Leaves: The leaves are alternate, or in some species basal. The leaves are often heart shaped and toothed and sometimes deeply lobed. Some plants will have both types of leaves.
Flowers: The flowers are irregular in shape . They are blue, violet, white, yellow and many combinations and variations. The flowers have five petals. Two upper, one on each side and one lower. The two side petals are, in some species, bearded at the throat and the lower petal often has a hollow "spur" projecting backwords. These flowers almost never selfpollenate, but often seeds are produced by cleistogamous flowers.
Fruit: The seeds are round and in a three part capsule that splits.

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There are over 20 genera in the Violet, Violacea, family and hundreds of species in the Viola genus, dozens of which can be found in our area. The plants are often highly variable and hybrids are numerious sometimes making identifing to the species level very difficult.

Lore: The flowers of violets are often served as a garnish either fresh or coated with a sugar glaze.

Medical Uses: Violets are known to have salicylic acid (aspirin is Acetosalicylic acid) and large amounts of some vitamins. Some violets have been used for cancer treatments especially skin cancer, but, there is no research to confirm its validity for cancer. It may however destroy tissue. It has also been used for bladder or urinary problems and there may be some validity to this as studies have shown it is a diuretic. Flowers of some violets have been used in an infusion to treat colds and flue like symptoms. In strong doses violet preparations may induce vomiting.

: Violets should not be taken internally in large doses.

Similar Species: Violets found on this site include:
Appalachien Blue Violet, Viola appalachiensis
Field Pansy, Viola bicolor
Canada Violet (Viola canadensis)
Common Blue Violet, Viola papilionacea
Downy Yellow Violet, Viola pubescens
Johnny-Jump-Up, Viola rafinesquii
Long-spurred Violet, Viola rostrata
Birdfoot Violet, Viola pedata
Bog White Violet, Viola lanceolata

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The cleistogamous flowers of many violets are usually produced after the regular flowers are finished and do not open till the seeds are ready for dispersal.

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves



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