It is Springtime and plants are joyfully peeking their heads up through the soil everywhere. There are some happy, lovely child-friendly herbs that are commonly growing this time of year. Often referred to as weeds, these plants are powerfully healing, nutritious, and tasty! A favorite little plant just awaking in the world is violet. Take a walk with your child and see if you can find violet growing in your neighborhood. To help really get to know violet, when you and your child are meeting her share the little stories below and consider creating something tasty or crafty with your new plant friend.
Violets are sweet little plants with deliciously fragrant purple flowers and vibrant green heart shaped leaves. The leaves and flowers make a tasty, magical snack all full of vitamins C and A!
What They Look Like & Where To Find Them
Violets like to grow in moist, shady areas although they will spread into lawns and gardens as well, especially in the Spring before the sun becomes strong and hot. Violets are not tall, they grow close to the ground, often in masses, and the little purple flowers hide their budding heads beneath the heart shaped green leaves. The flowers have 5 petals: two petals on top, two on the side and one at the base of the flower with a tiny yellow center. Once in bloom the flowers peek their heads up above the leaves as if to say hello! The flowers have a distinctive lovely odor and once you smell it, you will never forget it! The leaves of violets roll in at the edges when young and as the grow become flatter. The leaves are a bit downy and, as mentioned, heart shaped.
Stories To Share
This well cherished flower has many myths and legends surrounding it. One story that might enchant a child is about Zeus, God of the Sky and Thunder, who long ago fell in love with a beautiful woman named Io and created violets for her. In the real more grown-up telling, Hera, Zeus’s wife, became jealous of Io and Zeus changed Io into a lovely white cow to protect her from Hera. Then he made violets for her along to eat in place of grass.
In the language of flowers violets symbolize love, affection and happiness!
Gifts From Violets
The leaves are mucilaginous (slimy) when chewed offering a healing slipperiness to the body helping to soothe the stomach and ease coughs. Violets are calming and cooling. They help to ease a broken, sad heart.
Activities, Recipes & More
Violet flowers and leaves are tasty and so are easy to add to foods such as salads and soups. Use the fresh flowers to decorate cakes and cookies. We love to put them in fruit salad. You can also freeze the flowers in ice cubes to add a bit of loveliness to your cup. Use your imagination and creativity to use the flowers for creating a fairy tea party. So much fun!
Violet Infused Water ~
Spend sometime together in the violet patch. Pick some flowers and leaves. If you wish gently wash them. Then place them in a jar and cover with water. Wait at least 30 minutes and then drink your lovely brew!
Violet Honey ~
This simple activity is a favorite for kids and adults alike. Gather a bunch of violet flowers, really as many as you want or can find. Then cover them with honey being sure to get all the flowers submerged. Wait a day or so and then enjoy eating the honey flowers and all. This tasty treat is great on pancakes, toast, swirled into tea or just by the spoonful. It lightens the spirit, helps those dealing with a broken heart and soothes coughs.
Candied Violets ~
Gather violets with stems attached. Gently wash and let the flowers dry. Then working with one violet at a time, holding by the stem dip the flower into egg whites (or you can use a clean paintbrush to paint the violet with egg whites). Be sure to cover all parts of the flower. Next dip the flower into fine white sugar once again covering all parts of the flower. Snip off the stem and place the flower on a wire rack or wax paper. Take a moment to gently open the flower up if it has folded up on itself. Let the flowers dry for 24 to 48 hours. Or hasten drying by placing in a 200 degree oven until the sugar crystallizes. Store in an airtight container and use to decorate cakes, cookies and puddings. So pretty!
“Mother Earth & Her Children” by Sibylle Von Olfers.
This beautiful book has little Violet as a character who ventures out with the other flowers when Springtime comes.
I hope that you enjoyed playing with violet has much as I do! As the days get even warmer more plant friends will pop-up from the Earth. Meet some of them here on A SummerTime Walk!