Happy Canada Violet Day

Why not look for a Canadian Violet on Canada Day? This activity can be safely undertaken during a pandemic.

The Canadian Violet is a breathtaking perennial with blossoming white petals. Many of the upper 2 petals are tinged with purple and cupped by heart-shaped basal leaves. This forb is fragrantly perfumed and also known to be edible.

It is a Canadensis species – Canadensis means ‘of Canada’. It is also known as Viola Canadensis, tall white violet, and Hens.

This attractive herb is widespread from Alaska to Newfoundland and south as far as Georgia and Arizona.

The plant grows from short thick rootstocks that spread forming colonies due to its slender stolons. Unlike most other white violets, the flowers rise from the upper leaf axils, rather than directly from the roots. It grows on slightly angular stems up to 16 inches tall.

It needs summer shade and moderate levels of moisture. So it’s no surprise that it’s located along woodland edges, damp meadows, thickets, and riverbanks. They actually tolerate heavy shade and do well when planted under trees.

This plant freely self-seeds to the extent of being weedy. So they are probably not the best for borders or rock gardens. However, they are excellent as ground cover and for under planting roses and shrubs.

The Viola Canadensis has 2 leaf types. The large, heart-shaped basal leaves mentioned above, and also the smaller stem leaves. Distinctive, palmate vein patterns characterize both. In addition, the tips of the leaves are sharply pointed.

The stem leaves are narrower and longer than the basal ones. The underside is typically free of hair, but the stalks are hairy. Linear shaped stipules can be found at the base of the leaf stalk.

The fruit is made up of green, 3-valved capsules protected by short fine hair. When it matures it turns brown and burst open, discharging small brownish seeds.

Happy Canada Violet Day!

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