Strap-Leaved Violet

Strap-leaved_Violet_jpgThis family (Violaceae) commonly called the Violet Family consists of 23 genera and 830 species of herbs, shrubs, lianas and small trees.  Some species are cultivated for their oils which are used in flavorings and to make scents. The species name of Strap-Leaved Violet (lanceolata) refers to the lance shape of the leaves. Strap-leaved Violet is found in moist, open, sandy or peaty ground or in shallow water of sunny streamsides, swamps and bogs. Sweet Violets (Viola odorata) are cultivated, mainly in the south of France, for their essential oil, which is used in flavoring and to make scents: 100 kilograms of flowers are required to yield 30 grams of oil. Violets are edible as salad, cooked green, soup thickener, tea, or candy.  The young tender leaves can be added to salad or boiled to make a palatable cooked green or added to soups as an okralike thickener. Violet leafs are somewhat bland and are best mixed with other greens.  The dried leaves can be used to make tea.  The flowers can be candied.  The leaves of violets are rich in vitamins A and C.

OtherCommonName:

Water Violet

ScientificName:

Viola lanceolata

Community:

Thicket

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Perennial

PlantHeight:

4 to 6 inches

FruitingTime:

Early September to October

Distribution:

Maine to Florida, west to Minnesota ~ Statewide in New Jersey

FloweringTime:

April to June

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Slender creeping, rhizomes and in summer many creeping stolons ~ Leaves, long, narrow (3 ½ to 6 times as long as wide) ~ Flowers on erect stems, greenish yellow, 5 petals ~ Seeds brown