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.
Links to Other Sites
The Plant List
Search this online database for information about one million plant species from around the world. Also, click on "major plant groups" at the bottom of the page to browse descriptions of species of interest. Fungi and algae are excluded. From the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the UK and the Missouri Botanical Garden in the US.
Flora of North America
The FNA website features information on the names, taxonomic relationships, continent-wide distributions, and morphological characteristics of all plants native and naturalized found in North America north of Mexico.