Wednesday, March 31, 2010


The earliest of the violets have started blooming. I'm not certain what species this is though. If you have them in your lawn I suggest transplanting some into your garden. If they're already in your garden, don't worry if they reproduce into your lawn.

These are the host plant to a number of Lepidoptera. The issue though is the caterpillars eat the leaves when the plants are above the 4 inch mark or the average mowed lawn. With the plants in the garden though they avoid being mowed and thus the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. The Varigated Fritillary is one such butterfly with wide distribution, that uses violets. I can't say that I've ever seen it though, and it does use other host plants like may apple and passionflower.

Also note in the picture above all the little 2 leaf violets coming up. Unlike pansies, violets come back every year and usually do good at reproducing. Assuming the right ant species is present too you may see violets popping up far away too. Some violets, but I don't think all, entice ants to plant their seeds for them. This helps the violets spread so hundreds of violets don't end up growing in a small space. It means free plants either way.

While I've never seen pollination happen I know it does occur from all the seedlings. I read that small bees like mason bees are the ideal pollinator of this plant. Moths and Butterflies might also.

Very pretty plant. I think I have 3 other types elsewhere too.