Violet

The Violet is a family (Violaceae) of annual or perennial herbaceous plants widely distributed throughout temperate and tropical regions. Tropical species may reach tree size. Roughly 500 species of genera Viola (violets, pansies) and Hybanthus (green violets) alone occur worldwide. The 35 species of Viola native to Canada are found in abundance in woods, prairies and marshes from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north to the treeline. One green violet species (H. concolor) occurs in southern Ontario. Some violets produce 2 kinds of flowers. In spring, colourful flowers (eg, purple, blue, white) are produced for pollination by insects. Green, petalless, self-pollinating flowers are produced in summer. These are more fruitful and ensure seed set if earlier flowers were affected by cold. Many species are popular as ornamentals, mainly for rock gardens and shaded areas, where they prefer moist, rich soil. The hooded or purple violet (V. cucullata) has a rich purple flower and a rosette of heart-shaped leaves. It has been the Provincial Floral Emblem of New Brunswick since 1936.