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Native Violas and Violets of Louisiana

Updated on December 9, 2014
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Yvonne writes about and photographs the flora and fauna of Louisiana, sharing knowledge she learned through study and personal experience.

Flowers: Viola pedata, V. palmata, V. langlosii, V. primulifolia

Members of the Viola family (Violets) are some of the first flowers to appear in early spring. Violets are an excellent ground cover plant for shady or part sunny areas and can be used in place of expensive, high maintenance exotic turf grass.

The flowers can be blue, purple or white. The leaves and flowers are edible and are rich in vitamins A and C. Violas are the host plant for the Variegated Fritillary Butterfly. There are many varieties of Violets that are native to Louisiana and the Gulf Coast states.

Some of my favorite native violas include Birdfoot (Birds-foot), Early Blue, Langlois and White Bog Violets.

Native Violets are beautiful, useful and make excellent groundcovers...

So why would anyone kill them to make room for expensive, high maintenance, useless exotic turf grass?

Enjoy Sweet Violets while you read. - Dinah Shore

Birdfoot Violet, Viola pedata

Source

Birdfoot Violet (also Birds-foot), Viola pedata

Many of the photos seen here can be purchased in Naturegirl7's Zazzle Shop as print-on-demand products such as posters, cards, apparel, mugs, etc.

Description

Birdfoot Violets stand about 3 to 5 inches tall. they have yellow centers with Bicolor petals in shades of purple and lavender-blue. The color varies according to the soil conditions such as fertility, acidity and location. Sometimes white flowers with dark veins occur.

The deeply veined foliage looks like an outstretched bird foot.

Blooms appear from March through April in Louisiana. When Birdfoot violets are cultivated, they will sometimes bloom again in early summer and will not go dormant during late summer.

Birdfoot Violet is widely distributed in the wild pine land soils of Louisiana and also in Mississippi, Texas and Arkansas.

Cultivation Requirements

These violets prefer acid to slightly acid, sandy soils. They thrive in average (not too rich) garden soil. Since, in the wild, the roots are protected by native grasses, cultivated bird foot violets should be mulched in winter to prevent winter-kill.

Birdfoot Violets need full sun so they are great for rock gardens. Plant them in early spring or fall. Local nursery grown stock is superior to collected specimens. It's best not to collect from the wild, unless the violets are on your own property or the stand is in danger of being destroyed by construction.

Solid Blue Birds-foot Violets

There is also a solid blue variety of this lovely large violet.
There is also a solid blue variety of this lovely large violet. | Source

Propagation

The root system of Birdfoot Violets is quite different from the creeping, knotty rootstock of most other violets. Birdfoot violets have a bulb-like root which looks like a miniature celeriac root with course feeder roots.

The method of seed production is also different. Unlike most other violets which produce self-fertile, hidden seed pods, Birdfoot violets produce seeds from the actual flowers. So if you want Birdfoot Violets to spread, you must not pick the flowers.

Landscaping

Birdfoot Violets look best and do well when allowed to form clusters in sunny well drained areas. Many native stands have been killed out by reforestation, so it is important to keep the area where birdfoot violets are growing open and free of shade.

Wild Violets Postcard

Ground Cover or Lawn Poll

Do you use groundcovers like Violets or are you a lawn person?

See results

Early Blue Violet

Early Blue Violet, Viola palmata

Description

This lovely large violet is dark blue with a cream colored throat. The lower petals have purple veins. The foliage is deeply toothed, similar to Birdfoot Violets, but is more palm-like, hence the botanical name palmata.

Early Blue Violets can form large colonies in the open shade of rich deciduous woods.

The flowers appear from March through April in Louisiana.

Cultivation Requirements

Early Blue Violets like good average to dry, neutral to slightly acid soil. High open shade is best for prolific blooming. They are great for colonizing or as a ground cover between later blooming taller plants and will also work well as a low border.

Plant in spring or fall. Space the plants 6-12 inches a part. Each plant will form a clump. Sit the root stock about 1/2 to 1 inch deep and mulch.

Divide clumps in spring or fall. These violets will self sow readily.

The foliage varies according to the time of year. The leaves are heart shaped when they first emerge in early spring, then later leaves are more deeply lobed.

Early Blue Violet Up Close

Blue Violets

Flower color ranges from pale blue to violet. Blue is the most common color in my yard.
Flower color ranges from pale blue to violet. Blue is the most common color in my yard.

Langlois Violet, Viola langloisii

Description

There are many types of common native violets, depending on the part of the country you live in. In Louisiana (especially in the southern part of the state), one of the most common of the blue or purple native violets is the Langlois Violet.

To this day, I do not understand why anyone would not welcome these lovely, hardy edible plants into their yards. I would much rather have a lawn of violets and other useful ground cover plants than one of boring, useless, high maintenance exotic turf grass.

Langlois Violets have pale blue flowers in early spring and deep green, heart shaped (ovate-triangular) leaves.

Cultivation Requirements

Common Violets of any kind are easy to grow and will self seed readily from hidden, self-fertile seed pods. Langlois Violets are native to hardwood forests so they are one of the plants that will grow well in shade to part sun.

Propagation

The self seeding pods will produce many plants and the knotty root stock can be divided in spring, fall or right after blooming.

Space 10 inches or more apart. Set crowns 1/2 to 1 inch deep. They can be used as a groundcover or in large clumps in shady to partly sunny areas.

Langlois Violet

History and Cultivation of Scented Violets

A great source of information about beautiful scented violets.

White Bog Violet

White Bog Violets


Description

White Bog Violet is a violet of the wetlands in both pine and hardwood areas in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coastal states. White blooms occur from late winter through spring. Leaves are triangular, but more blade like than blue violets and grow from white cord-like stolons.

They begin blooming in early February and bloom through April.

Cultivation Requirements

White Bog Violets need moisture and sun to part sun. They are wonderful to naturalize as a groundcover in wet areas where other plants and turf grass won't grow. Pollinators are attracted to the lovely white flowers. Mowing on a high setting will keep the wild grasses under control while allowing the violets to thrive.

Propagate by self-seeding or by root division as with other violets.

White Bog Violets as Groundcover
White Bog Violets as Groundcover

Blue Violets Mug

Violets at Zazzle

Some Sweet Designs by naturegirl7

Violet French Hard Candy

Old-fashioned violet candy, so sweet.

Viola Mother's Day Card

Victorian Tussie-Mussie

During Victorian times young gentlemen would give their lady-love a small bouquet of sweet scented violets.
During Victorian times young gentlemen would give their lady-love a small bouquet of sweet scented violets.

During Victorian times, a bouquet of Violets was a gentleman's flower of choice to woo his lady fair.

© 2010 Yvonne L. B.

Tell Us What You Think About Violets or just leave a note.

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    • naturegirl7s profile image
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      Yvonne L. B. 3 years ago from Covington, LA

      @ann-wehner: What you are seeing is probably the "other" violet flower. The one that makes the seeds. These do not have colorful petals and look like a bud. Violets bloom in very early spring right after the leaves emerge. Here in Louisiana that's in late February through March.

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      ann-wehner 3 years ago

      The native violets in my yard make a very strange little flower that has no color, it's basically 3 brown points, and really does not look like a violet. I'd post a picture, but don't know how. I recognized the foliage as violets and carefully transplanted to a bed near front porch, but was so disappointed in the flower. I have fond memories of picking wild violets as a little girl. Can anyone tell me anything about this weird species of violets

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      Craftybegonia 6 years ago

      Beautiful lens! Thanks for putting it together! I love native plants.

    • Tyla MacAllister profile image

      Tyla MacAllister 6 years ago

      I have wild violets that grow in my yard and I love them. I have moved a lot of them to my flower bed and now I have a nice clump of them. They bloom in the early spring and sometimes in the fall,too if I remember to water them. I don't understand why people don't like them.They are so much prettier than grass.

      *Blessed by a Squid Angel.*

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      ulla_hennig 7 years ago

      Lovely photos! After having read your page I now know a lot more about violets than before - thank you for sharing the information!

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      Congratulations on your Nail that Niche Award! Well deserved!

    • Shades-of-truth profile image

      Emily Tack 7 years ago from USA

      I love violets - it has been a long time since I have seen them, and what a spectacular job of presenting them! Kudos here!

    • naturegirl7s profile image
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      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @Virginia Allain: Yes, it's a catchy tune. I found it after YouTube pulled the Roses are Red, Violets are Blue video. Glad you liked the lens.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

      What a lovely collection of violet information, pictures and products. The music was fun to listen to while I browsed.

    • sulcatamandy profile image

      Mandy 7 years ago from Montana

      Purple is my favorite color so naturally I love violets! What a beautiful lens! I love all the purple!

    • naturegirl7s profile image
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      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @indigoj: Thanks, I appreciate those kind words. I'm glad you liked it.

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      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      How lovely -- both pretty and informative. Always enjoy your photos, and these are such sweet flowers.

    • naturegirl7s profile image
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      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @kimmanleyort: Thanks Kim, It's so good to know that I "hit my mark". One of my missions in life is to share native plant gardening with the world. :)

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      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      Beautiful page, Yvonne. This is just the kind of information someone like me needs; not very knowledgeable about gardening but wants to use native plantings. Love your photos and explanations.

    • naturegirl7s profile image
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      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @Elle-Dee-Esse: I only picked out my most favorite. There are at least 5 more varieties of native ones in Louisiana. They often crossbreed and so new varieties are popping up all the time.

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      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @Amy Fricano: Purple is my favorite color! I love to write lenses about purple things.

    • naturegirl7s profile image
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      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @TreasuresBrenda: Me, too. They are my favorite early spring flower.

    • naturegirl7s profile image
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      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @justholidays: Dom, thank you for the wonderful comments and for the blessing on my little violet lens. It was fun to make and brought back many happy memories of my childhood and my Mom.

    • naturegirl7s profile image
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      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @evelynsaenz1: We used to pick little bouquets of them, too. My Mother had sweet violets as borders in many of the flower beds. Flowers bring back such nice memories.

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      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @Ecolicious LM: Oh thank you! A virtual bunch of sweet violets for you.

    • naturegirl7s profile image
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      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @GramaBarb: I really liked your lens. You have such lovely wildflowers on it and most are very different from the ones we have here in the south.

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      Sherry Venegas 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Your area of the world is rich with so much!

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      I love flowers, gardens, etc. so definitely had a lot of pleasure visiting this page!

      Blessed by a SquidaAngel.

      Dom.

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 7 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      Aren't they pretty! I didn't realise there were so many different varieties

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 7 years ago from Royalton

      My grandmother had tiny little vases to put violets in that we picked to put on the table. Violets are one of my favorite flowers.

    • Amy Fricano profile image

      Amy Fricano 7 years ago from WNY

      oh PURPLES and shades, so pretty, and so informative

    • Ecolicious LM profile image

      Penny Pincher G 7 years ago

      what a lovely and informative lens. blessed

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 7 years ago from Canada

      Love these violets!

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 7 years ago from Vancouver

      Thank you so much for featuring my 'wildflowers lens'! You have such a beautiful lens about violets.