African Violets are much loved amongst pot plant lovers, but this sketch is of some violets growing in my garden (Tarlton, South Africa), ‘viola odorata’, a delicate little violet flower on a long stem, easily picked and arranged in a small vase. And the more you pick them, the more prolific they grow.
This flower is native to Europe and Asia, but has also been introduced to other parts of the world. It is commonly known as Sweet Violet, English Violet, Common Violet, or Garden Violet. The sweet, unmistakable scent of this flower has proved popular throughout the generations, particularly in the late Victorian period, and has consequently been used in the production of many cosmetic fragrances and perfumes. The French are also known for their violet syrup, most commonly made from an extract of violets. In the United States, this French violet syrup is used to make violet scones and marshmallows.
Viola odorata is quite similar to other species of violet, but can be distinguished by the following characteristics:
Medicinal and edible, the flowers and leaves of viola are made into a syrup used in alternative medicine mainly for respiratory ailments associated with congestion, coughing, and sore throat. Flowers are also edible and used as food additives for instance in salad, made into jelly, and candied for decoration. Large doses of the root contain an alkaloid called violine which is emetic (causing vomiting). A decoction made from the root (dry herb) is used as a laxative. Tea made from the entire plant is used to treat digestive disorders and new research has detected the presence of a glycoside of salicylic acid (natural aspirin) which substantiates its use for centuries as a medicinal remedy for headache, body pains and as a sedative. The plants constituents are being studied and show these uses to be valid.
Eugenol, Ferulic-acid, Kaempferol, Quercetin, Scopoletin, also show promise in the treatment of many kinds of cancer, arthritis, AIDS, gum disease and more. Used externally the fresh crushed leaves reduce swelling and soothe irritations. As a bath additive the fresh crushed flowers are soothing to the skin and the aroma is very relaxing.Folklore
The Ancient Greeks considered the Violet a symbol of fertility and love, they used it in love potions. Pliny recommended that a garland of them be worn about the head to ward off headaches and dizzy spells.RecipesSyrup: Pour 1 pint of boiling water over 1 cup packed, of fresh crushed flowers and leaves, cover and let stand for 12 hours. Strain and squeeze through cloth, add 2 lb. of sugar and boil for 1 hour or until syrupy. Store in glass jar. Give 1 tbs. -1 tsp. for children 2 or 3 times a day.Tea: Steep ¼ cup dried or fresh herb in 1 cup of water for 10 min. stain, flavor to taste. Take in ½ cup doses twice a day.
Watercolour in one of my Nature Journals, done about 12 years ago.
From my portfolio of Flowers
Easy-to-clean Laminated print for the Potting Shed
Poster – ideal for Class room or Field Study group