With the overwhelming abundance of ephemerals, the spring violets are going “gangbusters!”
The other day I got an e-mail from someone who wanted to know how to get rid of the wild violets in her lawn. How she “hated” them and tried to eradicate them from her lawn. How the violets just “won’t go away.”
Did you know that chemical herbicides seldom work on wild violets. So don’t waste your money and risk your health. If you can’t make peace with them, the real option is physical removal — and sometimes they grow back. If you have wild turkeys in your area, they might eat the leaves and fleshy roots.
You Can Eat Them!
The flowers are the source of rutin, a hard-to-find antioxidant that strengthens capillary walls, preventing or reversing the visible effects of varicose and spider veins. The best way to enjoy them is on top of a green salad. Pick just the flowers, not the leaves.
I couldn’t help replying to her e-mail about the butterflies and the bees. Was she was aware that the violet was the host plant for fritillary butterflies? The host plant is a large, colorful butterfly that looks a lot like the monarch. They attract native bees and other insects, and the ants, part of the distribution, seek the soft appendages of the seeds.
I have several different colors of violets in my yard. Whether they’re native or not, I love the color they bring to my lawn and woodland and prairie areas.
There are many host plants for butterflies.
Ezra Brainerd’s book Violets of North America published in 1921 is available online.