Violets abound in my yard. They grow companionably next to the dandelions and creeping charlie, thrusting their blue (and sometimes pink, magenta, nearly white) flowers up through the thatch and leaf detritus. They are an early source of nectar for butterflies, and pollen for bees. And the flowers taste yummy in salad.
The other thing about violets - and the reason I let them grow wildly in my yard and along the edges of my garden beds - is that their leaves are caterpillar food. Greater Fritillary caterpillars are picky eaters and eat only violet leaves! But they are late night diners, hiding during daylight hours, so you might never see them. I haven't. But I have seen plenty of fritillaries fluttering around my garden.
This week look for violets - in your yard, in a park, growing along the sides of sidewalks.
Notice the colors of the flowers. How many shades of blue and purple do you find? What about yellow and white?
And here's another thing you'll notice: each flower grows from a stem that comes directly out of the ground, and they seem to be nodding (well, at least mine do).
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