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Johnny-Jump Up Viola tricolor

Phonetic Spelling
vy-OH-la TRY-kull-lur
Description

Sometimes called the wild pansy, this tiny herbaceous annual or short-lived perennial wildflower was introduced to North America from Europe.  It is found in lichen-dominated or meadow-like rocky outcrops, dry and sloping meadows, banks, fields, gardens, wastelands, sand fields, seaside beaches. It does not have a basal rosette f unlike some other violets but has an alternate leave arrangement instead.  Its three-colored (hence the name) flowers can produce up to 50 seeds in each capsule making it spread easily though it is not particularly aggressive.  Water this plant regularly but do not overwater.

The beautiful flowers have little flavor but are edible in small amounts.  They contain saponins and could be toxic in large amounts; however, they are used as an anti-inflammatory and contain antioxidants. Blooms spring-summer and is usually short-lived, but freely reseeds. It is the parent plant to modern pansies.

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom:  April-September

Quick ID

  • Flowers zygomorphic, 2-lipped, are tri-colored: violet, blue and gold
  • Leaves are ovate to lanceolate; stipules lobed
  • Perennial with small 'face-like' flowers in spring-summer

 

VIDEO Created by Homegrown featuring Travis Birdsell, County Extension Director and Extension Agent for Ashe County Extension

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Upcycled Border
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#fragrant#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#edible flowers#nectar plant#pollinator plant#fantz#edible#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#fragrant#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#edible flowers#nectar plant#pollinator plant#fantz#edible#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Viola
    Species:
    tricolor
    Family:
    Violaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Traditional medicines and dyes
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe and Asia
    Distribution:
    North America
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract honeybees, bumblebees, long-tongued bees (Anthophora sp.), syrphid flies (Rhingia sp.), and butterflies
    Edibility:
    Flowers are edible and have a slightly minty flavor.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 3 in. - 0 ft. 10 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 3 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    3-valved capsule which ejects seeds when dry.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Variegated
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are solitary in axils and lateral, hoisted on long peduncles. They appear on aerial stems with more or less long internodes. The 5 sepals are never larger than the corolla. The 5 petals are often three colors and have purple stripes on them the bottom petal has a nectar spur. The typical flower has violet or purple upper petals, white lateral petals, and a yellow lower petal, but other color variations are possible.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Dentate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaf blades are glaborus ¾-1½" long (not including their petioles). Two stipules clasp the stem and are often quite developed on the upper leaves and difficult to distinguish from true leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stem is hairless, sometimes downy and is branched.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Edible Garden
    Fairy Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees