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Flower History
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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, these flowers 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.

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