Violet Flower History
The violet, the traditional Valentine's
Day flower, celebrates modesty,
virtue, faithfulness, humility and
possible happiness. According
to legend, the Christian priest St.
Valentine wrote love notes using ink
made from the violets he grew.
In more recent years, however, these
dainty beauties have been upstaged
by the more romantic rose.
An ancient Roman legend tells of the
goddess Venus becoming jealous of
maidens that were prettier than she.
The maidens were battered and bruised
until they turned into blue violets.
The violets claim to fame, however, was solidified when Napoleon donned the code name: Caporal Violette upon his exile. Recent history has, once again, embraced the plant. New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island have declared the violet their state flower, and it's easy to see why. Its two-inch blossom has five velvety petals and is seen in pink, purple and white varieties. They are still considered a symbol of good luck for women, and dreaming of violets is said to indicate impending success and achievement.
There are around 500 species of violets around the world. These, however, do not include the ever-popular African violet, which is a different genus altogether. Violets include common perennials, some annuals, and a few shrub varieties. They are relatively easy to grow, prefer indirect sunlight or shade and lots of moisture. They are great bloomers throughout spring and summer. Some regions are blessed with violet blossoms even in the fall. Even when they're not in bloom, their heart-shaped leaves stay green and attractive if properly watered.
It's difficult to
say whether or not some violets have
a scent to match their attractiveness.
The ketones in these varieties'
scents dull the scensory receptors
temporarily. Other violets,
such as the Viola odorata (Sweet Violet),
are distinguishable especially because
of their sweet odour. In fact,
are edible. They are used candied
or to decorate meals and desserts,
and add their flavour liquers, salads
and dishes. The entire plant has been
said to have medicinal properties
and its tea holds a plethora of vitamins
A & C. Greek and Chinese
medicine use violets in cough syrup
as a chest congestion releaf.