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Common Blue Violet

Common Name: Common Blue Violet
Scientific Name: Viola papilionacea
Range: Throughout
Flowering: March - April
Habitat: Damp woods and meadows, logging roads & roadsides
Common Blue Violets are one of the first spring flowers to appear here in Tennessee. The flowers and leaves are located on separate stalks. The heart shaped leaves are often scalloped as seen on this plant with one heart and one scalloped heart. They can reach up to 5" long, but are usually much smaller during the time they are blooming. The 3/4" flowers have 5 petals, the two lateral petals are bearded. Both the leaves and flowers of violets are edible. The leaves are frequently included in salads or cooked like spinach. The flowers can be used to make beautiful edible decorations on cakes and candies or can be used in jellies. The flower photo above was taken in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
Below you can see a seed pod for violets that grow in our yard in middle Tennessee. Each pod contains between 10 and 65 tear drop shaped seeds. These seeds measured .050" in diameter and were .100" long.

An amazing thing about these seeds is that they don't just fall from the pod to the ground. At least some "pop" almost like popcorn and are shot from the pod. We observed some seeds flying more than 2 feet!

Violet Seed Pod and Seeds
Photo by Todd Ratermann

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