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Viola tricolor is often confused with:
Viola bicolor Close up of flower
Viola sororia Viola papilionacea
Viola x wittrockiana Flowers
Native alternative(s) for Viola tricolor:
Viola sororia Viola papilionacea
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Helianthus annuus Helianthus annuus
Rubus idaeus subsp. strigosus Raspberry plant
Salvia rosmarinus Rosmarinus officinalis
Viola tricolor has some common insect problems:
Thrips Found on Flowers and Foliage
Caterpillars Found on Flowers and Foliage
Viola tricolor has some other problems:
Slugs and Snails Found on Flowers and Foliage

Pansies Viola tricolor

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

Wild pansy (also called Johnny jump up) is an herbaceous annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial wildflower in the violet family (Violaceae). It is the parent plant to modern pansy hybrids and was introduced to North America from Europe. Wild pansy grows 3 to 10 inches in height and 3 to 12 inches in width. It is found in meadow-like rocky outcrops, dry and sloping meadows, banks, fields, gardens, wastelands, sand fields and seaside beaches. The epithet comes from the fact that its flowers have three colors.

Wild pansy grows best in full sun and in moderately fertile, moist, well-drained soils. It blooms in spring to summer and is usually short-lived but freely reseeds. Its flowers can produce up to 50 seeds in each capsule, making it spread easily, although it is not particularly aggressive. Water this plant regularly but do not overwater.

The beautiful flowers are edible in small amounts but have little flavor. They are sometimes used as garnishes. They contain saponins and should not be consumed in quantity; however, they also contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant chemicals. Other medicinal uses are for the treatment of eczema and autoimmune diseases. Topical applications are used for cradle cap, diaper rash, weeping sores, itchy skin, varicose ulcers and ringworm.

Use this plant in containers, beds and borders. It is a wonderful addition to a butterfly, pollinator, cottage, fairy or edible garden. Or plant it in woodlands or meadows, beside ponds or along slopes or banks.

Quick ID Hints

  • Flowers zygomorphic, 2-lipped, are tri-colored: violet, white and gold.

  • Leaves are ovate to lanceolate; terminal lobe of stipule with 4 or more crenations on each side.

  • Perennial with small “face-like” flowers in spring-summer.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: The Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center has a factsheet on common pests and diseases.

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 landscape:
Border Garden, Upcycled
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#edible plant#edible flowers#nectar plant#pollinator plant#fantz#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#fritillary butterflies#butterfly caterpillar host#early childhood#wildlife friendly#child#children#preschool#early care#easy edibles
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#edible plant#edible flowers#nectar plant#pollinator plant#fantz#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#fritillary butterflies#butterfly caterpillar host#early childhood#wildlife friendly#child#children#preschool#early care#easy edibles
  • 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:
    This plant supports Fritillary butterfly larvae. Flowers attract honeybees, bumblebees, long-tongued bees (Anaphora sp.), syrphid flies (Rhingia sp.), and butterflies
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Edibility:
    Flowers are edible and have a slight 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 Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    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, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • 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:
    Cordate
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    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 Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    The stem is hairless, sometimes downy and is branched.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Pond
    Riparian
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Edible Garden
    English Garden
    Fairy Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees