Hiking along the mountain ridge the other day we saw some ground covers in bloom like the chickweed in the fields. Spring wild flowers that were blooming included white violets, hepatica and rue anemone. These wild flowers were all growing in a rocky, wooded area. The white violets were found down in the holler near a spring-fed stream, whereas the hepatica and rue anemone were on the hillsides in the woods.
White violets were just beginning to bloom. More violets were observed with flower buds or no buds than had open flowers.
The Northern White Violet, Viola pallens, is identified by its leaf shape and flower shape. The leaves and flowers reside on separate stems, which is the first thing to determine when seeking to identify a violet. Some species share their leaf stems with the flowers, like the field pansy.
The basal leaves are small, round or blunted heart shapes with scalloped edges. The upper petals of the flower are not twisted as they would be in the Sweet White Violet, V. blanda, which also has heart-shaped leaves that are more pointed. Photos taken 21 April 2011.
(Click on photos to see larger images.)
The violets were adjacent to a spring-fed stream and probably within 20 feet of the flowing water. This is the same stream where we saw skunk cabbage.
The white violets don’t seem to have any medicinal qualities, but they are edible. We won’t be harvesting any violets so that we can go back and enjoy them next year. Leaves can be used in salads, as cooked greens or dried for use in tea. Flowers make pretty garnishes for salad plates.