Viola sororia

(“Viola Sororia.” Botanikim, Apr. 2009,

Common Name(s) Common Blue Violet
Scientific Name Viola sororia
Family Violaceae
Location/Vegetative Zone Woods, thickets, and stream banks
Flowering Period April-August
Identifying Characteristics 3-8” tall, wide heart-shaped leaves, and large blue-violet flowers (sometimes white with purple veins)


  • Perennial plant
  • Grows 3-8” tall
  • Leaves are:
    • Downy, basal, heart-shaped
    • Wide (3” long, 3” wide)
    • Yellowish green to dark green depending on growing conditions
    • Can be crenated or serrated along the edge
  • Has blue-violet flowers
    • 5 petals
    • Medium to dark violet
    • Inner throat of flower may be white
    • Dark purple veins radiate outward
    • Blooms from April-August for about 1½ months
    • After blooming, the plant produces seed pods with many dark brown seeds inside; the seeds are ejected out of the pod


  • Habitat:
    • black soil prairies, open woodlands, woodland edges, savannas, and wooded slopes along rivers or lakes
    • likes rich silty loam or clay loam with above average amounts of organic matter
    • common to North America; grows from Wisconsin to the East Coast and north to Canada
    • likes partial sun or light shade, and moist to average conditions, although full sun is tolerated if there is sufficient moisture
  • Spreads easily; can be found in lawns, city parks, moist waste areas, and along hedges or buildings
  • The flowers and leaves are edible, and some say that the roots are edible as well.
  • The Cherokee Indians used it to treat colds and headaches. Has also been used to treat coughs, sore throats, and constipation.
  • State flower of Illinois, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and New Jersey

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