The common blue violet is the state flower of Illinois. It was officially adopted the state flower in 1908 following a campaign led by James C. Fessler. The flower is common across different places in the state. The violets tree grow on the prairie, lawns, wetlands, and woodlands of Illinois. The blooming period of the common blue violet is between mid to late spring. However, the flower is also common throughout the summer.
There are numerous species that belong to the genus Viola. Therefore, it becomes quite difficult to identify a specific flower in the genus. The purple violet flowers are usually approximately ¾ to 1 inch wide. The flower has five rounded petals. The bottom petal often functions as a landing platform for insects. Above the bottom, petal is two lateral petals, which are characterized by white hairs. There are two petals on the upper part of the flower. The flower is usually around 2 millimeters long. Each flower has 5 sepals, each measuring around 9 mm long and 3 mm wide. There is barely any noticeable floral scent produced by the common blue violet. The flower has two blooming seasons. In the first season, the flower produces regular flowers that open up widely. However, the plant also produces flowers close to the base of the stem which looks like buds. It is these bud-like flowers that produce most seeds.
When Did the Common Blue Violet Become the State Flower of Illinois?
In 1907, school children in Illinois were asked to vote for their favorite flower. The children had a variety of flowers to pick from but the majority picked the violet flower that would later become the state flower of Illinois. It was picked as the state flower over other common flowers in the state such as the wild rose and goldenrod. It garnered a total of 16,583 votes followed by the wild rose which had 12,628 votes, and goldenrod with 4,315 votes. The flower was officially adopted the state flower on January 21, 1908.
The purple violet flowers are used in making different varieties of jellies and candies. The petals of the flower are covered with sugar and are often used in garnishing and decorating cakes. Young leaves of the common blue violet are edible. They are sometimes added to salads in small amounts.
The Significance of the Flower
The flower is one of the noticeable flowers across Illinois, especially during its blooming season. Besides, it is easily grown and cultivated. The Dooryard Violet (Viola sororia) is the most prominent species of the blue-violet in Illinois, probably because it is easy to grow, and thrives on many surfaces.