Sweet Violet
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Sweet Violet
P Introduced Photo: Sunit Singh
Common name: Sweet Violet, Wood Violet, English violet, Common violet, Florist's violet, Garden Violet
Botanical name: Viola odorata    Family: Violaceae (Violet family)
Synonyms: Viola hortensis, Viola odora, Viola officinalis, Viola perennis

Sweet Violet is native to Europe and West Asia, and has edible and sweet-scented flowers. The sweet scent of this flower has proved popular, particularly in the late Victorian period, and has consequently been used in the production of many cosmetic fragrances and perfumes. Having no stem, the flowers and leaves rise directly from long, horizontal, runners. These runners root at the nodes. The leaves are all basal, heart shaped with rounded lobes at the base. Margins are rounded-toothed. The tips of the lower leaves are more rounded, while the upper leaves are more tapering to a blunt tip. Flowers are normally either dark violet or white. Flowering takes place in the spring, however, it develops unopened and self-pollinating closed flowers later in the summer months. The pollinated flowers form capsule fruits that hang down near the ground surface. The capsules open at ground level or just under the soil. Both the leaves and flowers are edible. They can be candied or eaten fresh. Both leaves and flowers can be added to salads, and used to embellish desserts and iced drinks. Leaves can be cooked like spinach.
Medicinal uses: Sweet Violet is used as poultice for treatment of headache, cough, colds, bronchitis, and fever in different Traditional medicines.

Identification credit: Sunit Singh Photographed at Darori Doda, J&K.

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