The State Flower of Illinois

Wild violet Official flower of Illinois.png
The official state flower of Illinois is the common violet, Viola sororia. It was adopted as State Flower in 1908 and you can read about how that came to be, here. Every year I get a little overzealous with the weed pulling in the spring and start pulling them out of the garden after either forgetting that I like the blooms, or forgetting that they're the official state flower. Then I see them blooming in empty lots, coming out of cracks in the sidewalk, growing in the parkways and I regret my earlier rush to eradicate them from the garden. I mean, just look at that face! Not only is it beautiful, but you can add the blooms to salads or garnish various plates with them and even make candied violets out of them. They're an urban forager's dream. If you see me accidentally on purpose weeding them from the garden remind me of all these wonderful attributes I just blogged about.
Update: Ron Wolford tweeted a link to this hilarious Ode to Violets


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  • Love this flower! I think viola are my favorite cool weather flower.

    Had no idea it was our adopted state flower and will have to start looking for it.

  • In reply to PrairieGarden:

    It hasn't started blooming in my garden yet. I did spot it in a garden or two one block over that have south facing exposure. One of my favorite cool weather flowers too. Thanks for commenting Liane.

  • In reply to PrairieGarden:

    They're blooming in the neighbor's yard but not in ours, yet. I leave them in the garden and only pull them out when they get gigantic. I used to have a blue and white one but I think it's gone :(

  • In reply to bintie:

    I've never seen a blue and white one! Do you happen to have any pics?

  • In reply to MrBrownThumb:

    Here's one from online:
    I don't think I have a picture of mine. If I see one elsewhere I may do a bit of transplanting :)

  • In reply to bintie:

    Wow, that's a beautiful one. I've never seen one like it. If I come across it I'll have to do some transplanting myself.

  • In reply to bintie:

    wow, this is a beautiful picture (and violets)!

  • In reply to bintie:

    Aw, how sweet. Michigan's flower (and I'm sure you're just dying to know this in case you should ever find yourself on a gardener's quiz show) is apple blossom. They are nice, fragrant flowers, but I personally would have gone for the Michigan lily. But, you know, no one asked me. Harumph!

  • In reply to PrairieGarden:

    They're pretty, but I'm always afraid they'll take over!

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    Ha! I wish they'd take over the remnants of my lawn. Although, I've discovered an easy way to keep them under control. They develop seed pods on the tiny flowers that grow UNDER the foliage and if you get ride of those or the pods, they don't reseed so heavily.

  • In reply to PrairieGarden:

    They are also terrific companion plants, because they attract the slugs, keeping them away from your ornamentals and food.

  • In reply to naxn:

    Really? I haven't noticed the slugs on them, but now I'm going to have to check on that because my love of Nasturtiums seems to be attracting a lot of slugs.

    I did see the link and signed-in to update the post with Ron's link. What a hilarious garden poem.

  • In reply to PrairieGarden:

    LOL-- did you see this?

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