Botanical name: Viola tricolor Family: Violaceae (Violet family)
Synonyms: Jacea tricolor, Viola luteola, Viola nemausensis
The Heartsease is as variable as any of the other members of the genus, but whatever modifications of form it may present, it may always be readily distinguished from the other Violets by the general form of its foliage, which is much more cut up than in any of the other species and by the very large leafy stipules at the base of the true leaves. Besides the free branching of the stem, which is mostly 4 to 8 inches in height, it is generally very angular. The leaves are cut into rounded lobes, the terminal one being considerably the largest. The flowers are 0.6-3 cm across, vary a great deal in colour and size, but are either purple, yellow or white, and most commonly there is a combination of all these colours in each blossom. The upper petals are generally most showy in colour and purple in tint, while the lowest and broadest petal is usually a more or less deep tint of yellow. The base of the lowest petal is elongated into a spur, as in the Violet. The flowers are followed by the little seed-pods, which when ripe, open by three valves. Darwin found that the humble bee was the commonest insect visitor of the Heartsease, Heart's Ease is a very common garden plant.
Medicinal uses: It was formerly in much repute as a remedy for epilepsy, asthma and numerous other complaints, and the flowers were considered cordial and good in diseases of the heart, from which may have arisen its popular name of Heartsease as much as from belief in it as a love potion. A strong decoction of syrup of the herb and flowers was recommended by the older herbalists for skin diseases and a homoeopathic medicinal tincture is still made from it with spirits of wine, using the entire plant, and given in small diluted doses for the cure of cutaneous eruptions.
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The flower labeled Heart's Ease is ...