Facts About Violas

Overview

The viola is a flower plant from the Violaceae family. Violas are often referred to as "violets." There are about 400 to 500 species of violas on the planet, the majority of which exist in the Northern Hemisphere. However, they also are found in diverse regions such as the South America's Andes, Australasia and Hawaii. Violas are composed of perennials, annuals and shrubs. Most violas are perennial plants.

Identification

Violas generally have heart-shaped leaves. Some varieties of violas also have palmate leaves, which are leaves that have lobes that rise out from the leaf's base. Other types of shapes are also possible. Violas do not have stems that are visible and the flowers and foliage appear to rise up directly from the ground. The flowers are composed of five petals and come in varied colors, which can be any color from violet to cream, yellow, white and blue. There are several kinds of violas that have two colors, such as yellow and blue.

Species

There are between 400 and 500 different species of violas. Some common viola species include viola cheiranthifolia, viola rostrata, viola stagnina, viola biflora, viola tricolor, viola sororia, viola arvensis, viola hederacea, viola pedunculata, viola riviana and viola banksii.

Cultivation

Violas like cool or warm climates. In the heat of the summer, they tend to wilt slightly. When growing violas in warmer regions, partial shade is beneficial. Violas are tolerant of a wide variety of soils. When planting them, it is helpful to add a fertilizer that is general purpose. The fertilizer should be added on a once-a-month basis. The soil should stay slightly damp but never wet. During dry times, water violas once to twice a week.

Disease and Insects

Violas seldom experience any problems with regard to disease and insects. Should either of these issues arise, treat the plant as soon as possible with chemical or organic insect repellents, or a fungicide.

Medicinal Uses

Violas are sometimes used for medicinal purposes. The roots, flowers and leaves of the plant are high in vitamins A and C, and also consist of anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties. Violas are also often used to make a herbal tea that is commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine.

Keywords: violas, perennials, flowers

About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer/traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has a bachelor's degree from Pace University in New York City, and a professional background in public relations. She has traveled to 5 continents and counting. Her writing has been published on a number of websites, such as Travels.com, Ehow.com, and Happy Living Magazine.