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Canada Violet
  Photos © Kim Hosen; Merrimac Farm Wildlife Managemen Area, Nokesvile VA; May 2015 Text by Kristen Hughes  

Canada Violet
Viola canadensis
Violet family, Violaceae

Viola Canadensis, also known as the Canada Violet, is a perennial wildflower found growing throughout most of North America with the exception of warmer climate regions of the United States, such as California, Texas and Florida.

The Canada Violet possesses heart shaped leaves and produces fragrant individual white flowers with yellow centers that bloom mid spring to early summer. The flowers consist of five petals, which are white on the front side and light purple on the back. These flowers attract various types of bees and butterflies, and the leaves are a food source for moth and butterfly larvae. Occasionally, other wild life is attracted to the Canada Violet, such as the Ruffed Grouse and Wild Turkey, which like to eat the seeds. White Tail Deer and Easter Chipmunks tend to like it, as well, choosing to nibble on the leaves and stems.

The Canada Violet ranges in height from 6 to 16 inches tall and tends to grow in clumps. It prefers dappled sun to light shade and cooler summer temperatures. The Canada Violet is found growing in moist, rich, loamy soil in swamps, moist woodlands and on bluffs.

The young leaves and flower buds of the Canada Violet are edible, possessing a very mild flavor. They can be boiled and used as a thickener in soups or steeped to make a tea. Teas and poultices made from Canada Violet roots have been used for medicinal purposes, such as treatments for bladder pain and skin abrasions.