I saw so many wonderful plants while on the Blackwater Falls Wildflower Pilgrimage that I have decided to not post it as walk but rather group them to give each one the attention it deserves. The Fern Walk included wildflowers, moss, lichen, birds and just about everything we found interesting. My head was spinning trying to keep up with the 5 experts we had leading the walk. So, first I want to show the Family: Violet (Violaceae). I don't think I have seen so many different varieties in one location. We were on a country road walking along a large stream so, imagine the sounds of the stream and bird songs as you look at these photos.
First is Viola blanda (Sweet White Violet). They are low to the ground and almost like the common purple ones in my yard except they are white.
Below is Viola conspersa (Dog Violet) Dog violet can be distinguished from other purple violets by the long spur and by the "beard" of white hairs on the two side petals.
Here is a side view showing the long spur.
Next is the Viola canadensis (Canada violet) and it can be distinguished from other white-flowered violets by the yellow base of the petals, and by the purple tint on the back of the upper two petals. These were also the tallest violets that we saw that day.
Viola rostrata (Long-spur Violet). This was my first time noticing this violet. I say notice because there is a good chance I have just walked right over it in the past. I can't honestly say that I have paid much attention to violets in the past but you can be sure that I will in future now that I know there are so many different varities right in my own stomping ground.
All violets are edible. The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw in salads. The look very pretty around a plate of fresh baked cookies. Violets are high in vitamins A and C. When added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as okra. Some people use then in jellies to add flavor or color.
Be sure to visit Outdoors Wednesday.