Herbs & Plants

Viola cucullata

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Botanical Name: Viola cucullata
Family: Violaceae
Genus: Viola
Species: V. cucullata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonyms: Viola obliqua Hill

Common Names: Hooded blue violet, Marsh blue violet or Purple violet

Habitat : Viola cucullata is native to eastern North America, from Newfoundland west to Ontario and Minnesota, and south to Georgia. It grows on wet places, often in open woods. Wet meadows, springs, bogs, swamps etc.

Viola cucullata is a low-growing perennial herbaceous plant up to 20 cm tall. The leaves form a basal cluster; they are simple, up to 10 centimetres (3.9 in) broad, with an entire margin and a long petiole. It is in flower from May to July. The flowers are violet, dark blue and occasionally white. with five petals. The fruit is a capsule 10–15 mm long, which splits into three sections at maturity to release the numerous small seeds.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, cleistogamous.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.
Prefers a cool moist well-drained humus-rich soil in partial or dappled shade and protection from scorching winds. Very intolerant of drought. Succeeds in dense shade. Tolerates sandstone and limestone soils but becomes chlorotic if the pH is too high. Prefers a pH between 6 and 6.5. This plant produces cleistogamous flowers as well as the usual insect pollinated flowers. It usually self-sows freely. All members of this genus have more or less edible leaves and flower buds, though those species with yellow flowers can cause diarrhoea if eaten in large quantities. A polymorphic species. there are many named forms, selected for their ornamental value.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in the autumn or just after flowering. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.

Edible Uses:
Young leaves and flower buds – raw or cooked. When added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as okra[85, 159, 177]. A tea can be made from the leaves.
Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of coughs, colds and dysentery. A poultice of the leaves has been used to reduce the pain of headaches. A poultice of the crushed root has been applied to boils.

Other Uses: Repellent and a good ground cover plant but it is slow to thicken up and may need weeding for the first year or so. An infusion of the root has been used to soak corn seeds before planting them in order to keep off insects.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.