Friday, January 10, 2014

Provincial Post - New Brunswick Purple Violet

Is there another small flower with such a long and interesting history? Violets were associated with death and funerals for both the Greeks and Romans. The Romans made wine from violet blossoms, and the Greeks and Persians used it medicinally to calm the troubled head and induce sleep. In Christian art the Virgin Mary is often surrounded by violets symbolizing humility. The violet also symbolizes faithfulness and purity. Blue is true.



Eliza Doolittle sold violets for tuppence as did flower ladies in markets since time immemorial, Josephine Bonaparte's favorite scent was the violet, and the Parma violet from Italy is an iconic British violet flavored candy.

In the province of New Brunswick it is the Viola cucullata that is a treasured symbol. The flower was adopted as the New Brunswick floral emblem in 1936, at the request of the provincial Women's Institute, the Lieutenant Governor and New Brunswick schoolchildren. The Viola cucullata goes by other names such as the Hooded Blue Violet, Marsh Blue Violet, the long-stemmed marsh violet or Purple Violet, and in French by violette cucullée and violette dressée.


The Purple Violet is a perennial which flowers from May through July. Like most violets it is a low grower reaching 20 cm tall. The simple leaves form a basal cluster from which the five-petaled flowers rise above and bloom in violet, dark blue and even white. Sadly the blooms have no scent. Its fruit is a green cylindrical-ovoid 3-valved capsule and the seeds are blackish at maturity.   According to one web site "The most reliable way to identify this species is to look very closely at the beards on the lower side petals. In marsh blue violet, the hairs are thick and rounded at the tip, like tiny clubs. Other bearded blue violets have slender, pointed hairs." This violet is known to occasionally hybridize with other species.

Its natural habitat is that of wet meadows and in coniferous or mixed-wood forests, marshes, swamps, and bogs. The Purple Violet is an eastern North American species that grows all over New Brunswick. It ranges from Quebec to Ontario and extends to the north shores of Lake Superior, as well as making its way to Minnesota and south to the state of Georgia. 




The Cherokee Indians found many uses for the Purple Violet. Medicinally it was used to treat headaches, colds and cough, applied to boils in a poultice or sprayed up the nose for catarrh. It can also be made into jams and jellies and syrups for consumption.


Where is New Brunswick? 


It is the small maritime province on the right in green.

12 comments:

  1. Hello Patty girl !
    Wow ! you have revamped your blog and it is looking wonderful !
    This is a sweet flower and I can't imagine not having some in my garden .. "Freckles" and "Labrador" are the two perennial ones I have .. this not at all plain purple one is gorgeous and full of history.
    Very Spring like post girl !
    Joy : )

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    1. Hi Joy, thanks for the complement - I change the look every new year. I have a few different violets growing in my garden, only one which I planted. They are always plentiful but cheerful for spring.

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  2. To śliczne kwiatki i mam je w ogródku. Są jadalne jak piszesz i dlatego można je też zamrażać w kostkach lodu. Pozdrawiam.
    This beautiful flowers and have them in your backyard. They are edible as you write, and therefore they can also be frozen in ice cubes. Yours.

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    1. Interesting idea Giga. That would be very pretty in a glass of ice water or something else. Thanks for sharing the idea!

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  3. I love violets and have white native ones in my garden. My soil is too dry for this little blue beauty, unfortunately. I also love the new look of your blog! Bravo! :o)

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    1. I have the white ones too. Funny, I never think to pick them or find out if they have any scent. I must rectify that this year.

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  4. I do like violets, and that is a lovely species. I like the relatively large flowers. I have violets growing as a ground cover in part of my shady back garden - they are mostly white, though.

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    1. That sounds lovely Jason. I imagine the white colour pops out well in your shady areas.

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  5. Violets are definitely beauties. I know some people don't like them because they can take over a lawn, but personally we've found ways to make room for them where the lawn meets the wild forest. They're so lovely at their peak of bloom!

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    1. You are right they do move around. I leave them in some of my lawns in order to see some green :)

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  6. Very interesting post Patty. There are so many violets and some with such marvelous perfumes. In a previous garden they invaded the lawn but I let them just because of the perfume. I now have mostly Labrador violets which have a very nice foliage.
    I would like to find again the confederate violet (sororia) which I have lost. It is a terrible thug, but it can prosper in dry shade.

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  7. I planted some Labrador violets this summer. I heard they will spread quite a bit. I have never heard of the confederate violet but it sounds like it likes the same conditions as the Labrador violet.

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