Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Johnny-Jump-Up (Field Pansy) - Viola bicolor

Johnny-Jump-Up (Field Pansy)
(Photo:  Marvin Smith on 3/29/10)


Other Common Names: Field Pansy, Wild Pansy
My best shot at an ID: Viola bicolor (Pursh)
Plant family: Violaceae (Violet)
Habitat: Fields, waste ground, disturbed sites, meadows, roadsides, railroads, lawns (just about any open area)
Range: Throughout most of eastern and central North America and into western Canadian provinces
Plant Type: Native annual
Description (from Illinois Wildflowers): Each flower is about ½" across, consisting of 5 petals and 5 sepals. The petals are pale to medium blue-violet with dark purple lines, becoming white near the throat of the flower. However, the lowermost petal has a patch of yellow near its base. Also, the two lateral petals are bearded with white hairs near the throat of the flower.
Lore: Native Americans used Johnny-jump-up to treat colds, coughs, headaches and boils. It was also used to prepare a spring tonic.

Getting an ID on this little flower was more difficult than I expected, especially since I started out thinking that I knew what is was. It has three scientific name synonyms. Some sources attribute it's common name to a different plant. And, there is disagreement about whether V. bicolor is native or not. (The USDA says it is native.)

Johnny-Jump-Up spreads by seeds and is usually found in clusters. We have several patch in our yard and garden. Illinois Wildflowers says it is sometimes used as one of the parents of pansy cultivars developed for the mass market.

Text originally posted on March 29, 2008.



Lisa at Greenbow said...

I would love to have little clusters of this beauty in my garden. What fun. A beautiful shot Marvin. It screams spring to me.

Pat - Arkansas said...

There is much loveliness in teeny-tiny flowers. Your photo captures it well.

abb said...

One of my very favorite flowers.

Christine said...

What a lovely shot of a lovely little flower. I love in coastal redwood country so ours are mostly yellow, called viola sempervirens. We do have what we call Wood Violets that pop up from time to time and they are deep purple.

jason said...

Such a beautiful flower... Great shot, Marvin.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see these again - my mother's favorite.

ksdoolittle said...

Great post. I love the info! Happy EAster. ~ks

Rambling Woods said...

This is a beautiful little flower. I love to learn about the lore of these plants. Who would think that it would have been used for medicinal purposes. I wonder if the drug companies should look in nature more..but then maybe you couldn't get a patent for it.. Thanks for adding your link to Nature Notes Marvin....Michelle

jeanlivingsimple said...

I have plenty of these to share. They self-sow like crazy and are popping up in all my flower beds! A very nice picture and interesting information on this pretty flower.

Artsy said...

So many people are posting lovely lavender flowers this week and it's my favorite color. I'd adore these in my garden. Your photo capture sure shows off the details and color. Thanks for the info because I often do not know what I'm shooting.

My blog not attached to google. Nature Notes post is here:
Click Here For Nature Notes

laughingwolf said...

this one seems to have ears, appropriate for easter bunny time :)

Lana Gramlich said...

Wow...what a lovely little flower!

Paula Werner Severo said...

very beautiful.. loved the color of the flower!

Jeannette StG said...

Lavender, my favorite color! And useful too for medicinal purposes. Thank you for sharing!