Adventures in Edible Plant Foraging by Karen Monger

Adventures in Edible Plant Foraging by Karen Monger

Author:Karen Monger
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Published: 2015-01-12T05:00:00+00:00

Violets I, N

Viola species

Abundant, pretty, and mild in flavor, wild violets make nice additions to wild green salads and in sweet desserts.

Beautiful violets

How to Identify

Wild violets have heart-shaped, lightly scalloped leaves growing from a basal rosette on short stems. When the leaves first emerge in early spring, they are furled up like a scroll. The flowers grow from a leafless stalk and have five petals; with two top petals, two ornamented side petals, and a fifth lowest petal that is often elongated and deeply veined. The pretty flower roughly resembles a butterfly. Violets are various shades of blue, purple, white and occasionally yellow. Not all cultivated violets and pansies are edible, and African violets are not botanically related to wild violets.

Habitat and Range

Wild violets can pop up in yards and gardens, but prefer moist woodlands where they get dappled sunlight. There are many species of violets in North America, some native and some introduced invasives; violets will readily interbreed and hybridize so identifying violets to species can be difficult. Harvesting tender leaves of violets in spring and the showy flowers will not harm the plant as it spreads through roots and prolific seed production.

When and How to Harvest

The leaves can be harvested in early spring when they first emerge looking like rolled up scrolls. Snip the short stems with scissors or snap them off with your hands. The flowers bloom in spring and may persist through the summer in cooler areas. A second flush of blooms may be seen in the late fall, right before it frosts, and these late flowers produce the seed pods. Pluck them off their short stems and use immediately or store in the refrigerator for a short period.


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