Ancient Greeks wore crowns of violets to promote serenity and sleep. Ancient Romans would plant violets upon the graves of children. Violets are regarded as a symbol of innocence and modesty. Violet is the state flower of Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Violet flowers are carried to bring good fortune.
Violet leaves and flowers contain beta-carotene, vitamin C, salicylates, the flavonoid rutin, mucilage, and the flowers contain essential oil.
Violets are pungent, bitter, and sweet, cool and moist and correspond to Venus, and the element of water.
Viola odorata is native to western Asia and Europe but is widely cultivated and naturalized. This evergreen perennial grows to about 6 inches in height and has heart-shaped leaves. The flowers are self-pollinating and purple, pink, lavender, or white in color. They usually have five petals, two on the upper portion, two laterals, and one on the bottom. Though flowers appear in early spring, the true seed-producing flower is inconspicuous and appears in autumn.
In gardening, violet leaves are used as a fertilizer for leaf crops. Some Native Peoples have soaked corn seeds in cool violet tea to prevent insect damage during germination.
In the garden, violet provides nectar for early butterflies. The plant prefers full to partial shade, soil that is rich in organic matter, and moderate to high amounts of water. There are over one hundred of the Viola genus. Most are perennial, though there are a few annuals in the genus. Viola. tricolor, also known as Pansy, also edible is one of the most recognized.
Place as many violet flowers as possible into a jar. Cover with white wine vinegar, cork and allow to steep for one month, shaking daily. Strain and refrigerate. Voila!
In the spring, collect two cups violet flowers. Place in the blender with one cup raw unfiltered honey and the juice of one lemon and blend. Store in a glass jar in the freezer. Use as a spread on sprouted crackers.