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Viola odorata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Violaceae
Genus: Viola
Species: V. odorata
Binomial name
Viola odorata
L.

Viola odorata is a species of the genus Viola native to Europe and Asia, but has also been introduced to North America and Australasia. It is commonly known as Sweet Violet, English Violet, Common Violet, or Garden Violet. The herb is known as Banafsa, Banafsha or Banaksa in India, where it is commonly used as remedy to cure sore throat and tonsilitis. The sweet, unmistakable scent of this flower has proved popular throughout the generations, particularly in the late Victorian period, and has consequently been used in the production of many cosmetic fragrances and perfumes.

Contents

History

According to ancient legend the name 'viola' came from the name of the maiden Io. Zeus loved the young damsel, but in order to protect her from his jealous wife, he changed Io into a young heifer, which fed in a field of violets. Violets throughout the centuries consequently became linked with love and have featured in various plays, including Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which Puck used their scented essence to create the lovers' potion.

Characteristics

Viola odorata is quite similar to other species of violet, but can be distinguished by the following characteristics:

  • the flowers have a sweet scent,
  • the flowers are normally either dark violet or white,
  • the leaves and flowers are all in a basal rosette,
  • the style is hooked (and does not end with a rounded appendage),
  • the leaf-stalks have hairs which point downwards, and
  • the plant spreads with stolons (above-ground shoots).

Species

The species can be found near the edges of forests or in clearings; it is also a common "uninvited guest" in shaded lawns or elsewhere in gardens. The flowers appear as early as February and last until the end of April.

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External links

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Simple English

Viola odorata
File:Viola odorata Garden
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Violaceae
Genus: Viola
Species: V. odorata
Binomial name
Viola odorata
L.

Viola odorata is a species of violets (genus Viola). It is native to Europe and Asia. The plant has also been introduced to North America and Australia. It is commonly known as Sweet Violet, English Violet, Common Violet, or Garden Violet. The herb is known as Banafsa, Banafsha or Banaksa in India. In India, it is commonly used as remedy to cure sore throat and tonsilitis.

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