At this time of the year our local woodlands here in county Kilkenny fill with new life and colours, one of the the wild flowers I love the most are the Violets.
They are a familiar little wildflower of the woodlands and grassy hedge-banks, this plant is quite similar to Early Dog-violet and is easily confused. The unscented, blue-violet flower is always solitary on the stem, and is open with five petals, the lower of which has a stout, blunt, pale, curved spur which is notched at the tip.
The mouth of the flower is absolutely wonderful to view through a hand-lens or magnifying glass. It has a pattern of deep purple lines which run into the throat over a paler violet patch, becoming white. The upper petals have a fringe which is over the opening. The dark-green, heart-shaped leaves are on long, slender stalks. This native plant which blooms from April until June is a larval foodplant of the Dark Green Fritillary. It belongs to the family Violaceae.
‘Look at us, said the violets blooming at her feet, all last winter we slept in the seeming death but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you’.
Edward Payson Roe 1838-1888
‘I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died.’
William Shakespeare 1564 -1616