(Plate CXXI.)

Family

Violet.

Colour

Pale blue and deep purple.

Odour

Scentless.

Range

New England to Minn.

and southward.

Time of Bloom

May.

Flowers: large, one inch across; solitary; nodding; growing on a scape. Calyx: of five pointed sepals with ears at the bases. Corolla: of five unequal, beardless petals, one of which extends into a spur. Stamens: united about the pistil. Pistil: one; style, club-shaped. Leaves: from the base; pedately five to nine-parted; the lobes narrow; spatulate.

From time immemorial violets have had their historians, their eulogists, and their worshippers; and yet, they are not strikingly handsome plants that claim instant admiration; they are simply gentle, modest and sweet.

It is not, perhaps, generally known that until recently the violet was highly prized in medicine; and physicians of the middle ages regarded it as one of their four cordial flowers. In the time of Charles II. a conserve called violet paste, or violet sugar, was in great favour with royalty and all the more eagerly consumed because it was thought to be a preventative of and cure for all pulmonary complaints. It may be that this was the forerunner of the violet glace which is now eaten, although undoubtedly more from pure delight than any idea of benefit.

Viola pedata bicolor.

Viola pedata bicolor.

V. pedata bicolor, Plate CXXI, which is a variety of V. pedata, is very handsome, with deep purple, velvet-like upper petals. The foliage of these violets is conspicuous as having departed from the entire leaf type with heart-shaped base that is commonly associated with the plants. They belong to the stemless division, so-called, of violets and although they often bloom a second time late in the season they do not bear cleistogamous blossoms.

V. Atlantica, coast violet, is a pretty plant with flowers that grow on long slender scapes. Its petals are nearly equal in length. It is by the leaves, however, that it is readily distinguished. They are ovate to reniform in outline and deeply parted into linear or oblanceolate lobes; the middle one being somewhat wider than the others. We find them either toothed or entire.