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Viola odorata - L.
                 
Common Name Sweet Violet, English Violet, Garden Violet, Sweet Violet, Florist's Violet
Family Violaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards May cause vomiting. Possible additive effect with laxatives [301].
Habitats Fields, hedgerows and woodlands, especially on calcareous soils[7, 17, 31].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to N. Africa, W. Asia and Syria.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
Bloom Color: Pink, Purple, White. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Early spring, Late fall, Late winter, Mid fall, Mid spring. Form: Spreading or horizontal.

Viola odorata Sweet Violet, English Violet, Garden Violet, Sweet Violet,  Florist


(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future
Viola odorata Sweet Violet, English Violet, Garden Violet, Sweet Violet,  Florist
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Viola_odorata_Sturm56.jpg
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Viola odorata is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Feb to April, and the seeds ripen from Apr to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, Cleistogamous.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
Viola hirta L. Viola hirta subsp. brevifimbriata W. Beck
Habitats
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; Hedgerow; Cultivated Beds; North Wall. In. East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

Young leaves and flower buds - raw or cooked[21, 85, 183]. Usually available all through the winter[K]. The leaves have a very mild flavour, though they soon become quite tough as they grow older. They make a very good salad, their mild flavour enabling them to be used in bulk whilst other stronger-tasting leaves can then be added to give more flavour[K]. When added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as okra[62, 85, 159]. Also used as a flavouring in puddings etc. A tea can be made from the leaves[85]. Flowers - raw. Used to decorate salads and desserts[5, 9, 85]. A sweet mild flavour with a delicate perfume, the flowers are an especially welcome decoration for the salad bowl since they are available in late winter[K]. The flowers are also used fresh to flavour and colour confectionery[238]. A soothing tea can be made from the leaves and flowers[85, 183]. A leaf extract is used to flavour sweets, baked goods and ice cream[183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiinflammatory;  Antirheumatic;  Cancer;  Demulcent;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Emollient;  
Expectorant;  Homeopathy;  Laxative;  Purgative.

Sweet violet has a long and proven history of folk use, especially in the treatment of cancer and whooping cough[4, 165, 218]. It also contains salicylic acid, which is used to make aspirin[244]. It is therefore effective in the treatment of headaches, migraine and insomnia[244]. The whole plant is anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, and laxative[4, 7, 21, 46, 165]. It is taken internally in the treatment of bronchitis, respiratory catarrh, coughs, asthma, and cancer of the breast, lungs or digestive tract[238]. Externally, it is used to treat mouth and throat infections[238]. The plant can either be used fresh, or harvested when it comes into flower and then be dried for later use[4]. The flowers are demulcent and emollient[240]. They are used in the treatment of biliousness and lung troubles[240]. The petals are made into a syrup and used in the treatment of infantile disorders[240]. The roots is a much stronger expectorant than other parts of the plant but they also contain the alkaloid violine which at higher doses is strongly emetic and purgative[4, 244, 254]. They are gathered in the autumn and dried for later use[7]. The seeds are diuretic and purgative. They have been used in the treatment of urinary complaints are considered to be a good remedy for gravel[4]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the whole fresh plant[4]. It is considered useful in the treatment of spasmodic coughs and rheumatism of the wrist[4]. An essential oil from the flowers is used in aromatherapy in the treatment of bronchial complaints, exhaustion and skin complaints[238].
Other Uses
Essential;  Litmus.

An essential oil from the flowers and leaves is used in perfumery[57, 100]. 1000kg of leaves produces about 300 - 400g absolute[46]. The flowers are used to flavour breath fresheners[238]. A pigment extracted from the flowers is used as a litmus to test for acids and alkalines[4, 13, 100, 115]. Plants can be grown as a ground cover when spaced about 30cm apart each way[208]. They make an effective weed-excluding cover[K].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Alpine garden, Border, Container, Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden, Woodland garden. Succeeds in most soils but prefers a cool moist well-drained humus-rich soil in partial or dappled shade and protection from scorching winds[1, 14, 31, 200]. When grown in the open it prefers a moderately heavy rich soil[1]. Plants have done very well in a hot dry sunny position on our Cornish trial grounds[K]. Tolerates sandstone and limestone soils. Plants are hardy to about -20°c[187]. Sweet violets are very ornamental plants, there are many named varieties[187]. They produce their delicately scented flowers in late winter and early spring - these are designed for fertilisation by bees and since there are few bees around at this time of year these flowers seldom set seed[4]. However, the plants also produce a second type of flower later in the year. These never open, but seed is produced within them by self-fertilization[4]. The plants will often self-sow freely when well-sited[188]. They can also spread fairly rapidly at the roots when they are growing well[K]. Responds well to an annual replanting in rich loose leafy soils[187]. All members of this genus have more or less edible leaves and flower buds, though those species with yellow flowers can cause diarrhoea if eaten in large quantities[62, 85, 159]. Special Features: Edible, Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Suitable for cut flowers, Extended bloom season in Zones 9A and above, Fragrant flowers.
Propagation
Seed - best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. The seed requires a period of cold stratification and the germination of stored seed can be erratic. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in the autumn or just after flowering. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
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Viola caninaDog Violet31
Viola collina 20
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Viola cucullataMarsh Blue Violet31
Viola diffusa 22
Viola epipsilaDwarf Marsh Violet30
Viola esculentaSalad violet00
Viola glabellaStream Violet, Pioneer violet20
Viola grypoceras 20
Viola japonicaJapanese violet32
Viola keiskei 20
Viola labradoricaLabrador Violet, Alpine violet, Johnny Jump-Up, Alpine Violet30
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Viola obtusa 20
12
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Expert comment
 
Author
L.
Botanical References
17200
Links / References
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Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Tue Jun 17 2008

theflowerexpert

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Subject : Viola odorata  

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