Common Blue Violet Plant Information
Common Blue Violet grows in the following 39 states:Connecticut, District Of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia
The common blue violet is also called the "lesbian flower" because in the early 1900s, lesbians and bisexual women would give violets to the women they were wooing. This symbolized their "Sapphic" desire, so called because Sappho, a Greek lyric poet, in one of her poems described herself and her lover as wearing garlands of violets. This practice became popular in the 1910 - 1930 time period, and has become a substantial symbol for lesbian and bisexual women in the modern era as well.Self-seeding freely, in lawns and gardens it can become a weed. Cleistogamous seed heads may also appear on short stems in late summer and early autumn.It is the state flower of Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.Viola sororia, known commonly as the common blue violet, is a stemless herbaceous perennial plant that is native to eastern North America. It is known by a number of common names, including common meadow violet, purple violet, the lesbian flower, woolly blue violet, hooded violet, and wood violet.
Beyond its use as a common lawn and garden plant, Viola sororia has historically been used for food and for medicine. The flowers and leaves are edible, and some sources suggest the roots can also be eaten. The Cherokee used it to treat colds and headaches. Rafinesque, in his Medical Flora, a Manual of the Medical Botany of the United States of North America (1828 - 1830), wrote of Viola sororia being used by his American contemporaries for coughs, sore throats, and constipation.
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