Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Violets (genus Viola) are flowers of the family Violaceae, with around 400 species throughout temperate areas of the world. Most violets are herbs found in moist and slightly shaded conditions such as hedgerows.
Violets are small perennial plants often with large heart-shaped leaves, which flower profusely in spring. The genus includes the Sweet Violet (Viola odorata, the common violet of the English countryside) and Dog Violet, and many other species whose common name includes the word "violet". However it also includes the garden pansies, their wild progenitor the heartsease Viola tricolor (a European plant introduced into North America, where it has acquired the name Johnny jump up), and a number of similar plants native to North America, such as the Yellow Pansy of the Pacific coasts.
One quirk of the violet is its elusive scent - a major component of the scent is a ketone compound called ionone, which temporarily desensitises the receptors in the nose; sniff all you like, you won't get any more smell from the flower!
In North America, there are several different species of wild violets. Some are blue, some are yellow, white, or cream; some are even bicolored. In addition, the shape of the petals defines more species; for example, some violets have a "spur" on the end of each petal. The Common Blue Violet , Viola sororia, is the state flower of Rhode Island, Illinois, and New Jersey.
African violets are not related to the true violets.
- ITIS 2002-12-02
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details