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May 4, 2008 / Bo Mackison

Three Violets – Oops, Four! – Which is Your Favorite?

There are over 900 species of violets, but I only have three four to share with you so far. And if you read all the way to the end of this post – there’s a contest and prizes in celebration of Seeded Earth reaching visit # 30,000 a day ago.

Confederate Violet

I have always called this a Confederate Violet, though it isn’t listed as such in wildflower guides. The name seems to refer to its color resemblance to the Confederate uniforms worn during the Civil War, which were a pale gray-blue color.

It is actually an atypical Common Blue Violet, (the violet in the next photo) and mostly enjoyed by us folks in the Midwest US.

Common Blue Violet

This is the Common Blue Violet. It blooms March through June, and is found throughout the eastern half of US. This species of violet is as common in my yard as my grass. And nearly as common as my dandelions and clover. 🙂

Its leaves are high in Vitamin A and C and can be used in salads or cooked as greens, and the flowers can be made into candies and jellies. Here’s a recipe for Violet Jelly. It was my favorite from all the ones I read, because the jelly-maker was concerned enough to give us a hint so the jelly doesn’t look like it’s full of wilted bugs!

Sweet White Violet

This is the Sweet White Violet, and is much whiter than the Confederate and also has a nice fragrance. (Many violets do not have a fragrance.) This violet is fairly simple to find in the northern part of the United States east of the Mississippi River. It blooms in April- May in wooded areas.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of this violet is the backbending and twisting of the two upper petals. It’s the violet gymnast!

So do you have a favorite?

The mutant soldier?

The lawn-infested jelly ingredient?

The perfumed gymnast?

Why not leave a comment and vote for your favorite? We’ll see which one comes out as the Seeded Earth’s Favorite Violet!

*** In celebration of Seeded Earth surpassing 30,000+ visits, I’ll anonymously choose one ‘voter participant’ and send you an 8″ X 10″ MATTE PHOTOGRAPH, your choice from my blog – if you want one, that is – AND A SOMETHING SPECIAL GIFT MADE IN WISCONSIN. I’ll announce the winner on Sunday, May 11. And I’ll post a photo of the Wisconsin prize, too. ***

Addition on May 5. I want to add one more violet to this violet post, though I don’t think this guy will have much a go at the contest. He’s a pleasant sort, so he won’t mind.

Downy Blue Violet

This is the Downy Blue Violet and its petals are broader than they are long, giving it a shape rather like a butterfly. It has a soft whiskery coat and is a lovely medium shade of blue. The Downy grows very low to the ground on barely any stem, so it can be easy to miss.

The whiskery butterfly


  1. Mark / May 4 2008 5:23 am

    Congrats on the 30,000 it is quite a good milestone. I have loads of violets amongst the flowers in the wildlife area and they are a vitial source of nectar and food for all sorts of insects. They are the traditional blue dog violets. but I did see a whit speckled one the other day.
    I’m voting for the mutant soldier.

    Cheers Mark

  2. Hootin' Anni / May 4 2008 5:32 am

    Well, if you coax me long enough I guess I’d have to choose the middle one, the Common Blue. But really, they’re ALL perfect!

    My green thumb Sunday is wildflowers this week.

  3. jpt / May 4 2008 8:24 am

    lawn infested jelly cuz you could eat it and the curly leaf behind is pretty

  4. jeanabaena / May 4 2008 8:26 am

    i like the background of the other flowers not in focus in the perfumed gymnast. my prize can be a rhubarb pocket or 10

  5. Anna Surface / May 4 2008 8:38 am

    I’d love to have violets growing in my yard but don’t. These are beautiful! My vote if for the mutant soldier. I especially like this one because of the vivid blue-violet streaks against the pale gray-blue color in the flower.

    Congrats on the 30,000!!!! 🙂

  6. Dirty Knees / May 4 2008 9:19 am

    My favourite violet is on MY blog, tee hee. (Weeder’s Digest

    It’s the Labrador violet and I like it because the leaves are a dark purplish green and are nearly evergreen in my Ontario (Canada) garden. I posted about it yesterday — so great minds think alike!

  7. Nicole / May 4 2008 10:28 am

    I love the first AND the second one, but I would love to smell the fragrance of the third.
    But the second is good with salads & such and I love the violet color,….

    I vote for the common blue, but I love them all 🙂

    And Congrats on the 30.000 from me as well :)!

  8. Aiyana / May 4 2008 12:07 pm

    The Confederate violet is my favorite. Congrats on your 30k visitors. Happy GTS,

  9. Robin / May 4 2008 2:17 pm

    Congratulations on your 30,000+ visitors!

    The common blue has always been my favorite. They’re as common as grass in my yard, too. I was just admiring them a little while ago, and how well the purple goes with the green of the grass and the yellow of the dandelions.

  10. lady.percy / May 4 2008 5:59 pm

    I like the butterfly one best. :-]

    Great photos! And congrats on 30,000 visits

  11. Lori V. / May 4 2008 6:15 pm

    The Common Blue. Lovely AND practical. My kind of flower! 🙂

    Thanks for coming by my site & leaving some love for my Green Thumb Sunday pics!

  12. Laura / May 4 2008 6:16 pm

    I like the common blue the best. Great pictures!

  13. teresa / May 4 2008 6:57 pm

    I like the Common Blue best but it is not like the one that proliferates in my yard.

  14. organicsyes / May 4 2008 8:27 pm

    I love them all…but always go with the jelly ingredient! I love to see the lovely “violet” color peeking out amidst the green grass.

    30,000 views! Wow…did you ever think that many…????

  15. montucky / May 4 2008 9:13 pm

    These are all very good photos of very pretty flowers. Even though I too have a yard full of them and big patches of un-mowed grass as a result, I like the common blue the best.

  16. Muum / May 4 2008 10:23 pm

    love the photos, I’ll vote for the white gymnast! thanks for visiting my blog. I posted about my white and pink violets a while ago – here: , but my pics are not as good as yours 🙂

  17. Lesley Smitheringale / May 4 2008 11:33 pm

    Hello Barbara, sincere congratulations on reaching 30,000 hits and I’m happy for you. My favourite is the sweet white violet because it’s the most natural setting and I prefer the not so cropped, natural composition of this one. I also like how the flower is off centre. Well done.

  18. aullori / May 5 2008 12:52 am

    Without question your first shot is the most brilliant. Meanwhile, I’m so shocked that violets are wild in your part of the world. How amazing is that? To be as common as a dandelion? wow, that would make for a much more prettier yard then grows in the west. I had to move onto twenty acres to get wildflowers in my yard! 🙂

  19. Gandalf / May 5 2008 7:48 am

    mutant soldier

  20. mon@rch / May 5 2008 10:24 pm

    I like the sweet light one! Bravo on all these shots! THey are such great flowers!

  21. Janet Wilkins / May 7 2008 2:44 pm

    I’d vote for the perfumed gymnast. I’ve got a yard full of these too, in fact, were it not for the violets, I’d have no lawn. I believe the ones in my yard are what you’re calling the perfumed gymnast, though, I’m not good at identifying these and I’m so darned congested, I couldn’t smell a skunk! Not that I’d care too. 😀

    Beautiful photos (and flowers).

  22. amelia / May 9 2008 3:53 pm

    I like the whiskery butterfly. That’s my vote.

  23. Bo / May 10 2008 6:43 pm

    The winner of the violet contest is comment # 18, aullori. See
    for the whole story!

    Congratulations, aullori!

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