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Fields, Forests & Wetlands Foods of Eastern North America

A Complete Wild Food Guide

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Group of Violets in with grass

A group of Common Blue Violets coming up in a lawn in early spring.

Season: Spring

Urban, Rural or Both: Both

Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia). This plant often forms colonies of plants that come from the rhizomes.


This is a plant not many would think of as edible for some reason. When cooked, the leaves taste more or less like spinach, and so, they can be used like you would use spinach. The nice thing about that is, this plant comes up earlier in the spring than many, and the green leaves (and flowers) can be used before you have spinach growing in your garden if you have one.

The spring leaves are safe and fine in salads raw. Make them as one leaf ingredient among others.


The flowers are great looking in salads raw. They combine well with Dandelion flowers for color. When the Dandelion flowers are in their prime, so are these, so you can gather both and use on top of a salad for looks. Neither the Violet nor the Dandelion flowers have a lot of flavor, but they look great and don't affect the salad in any other way. Also, you can use some Red Clover flowers as well - all three colors look great and exotic together.

Growing this plant in your home garden:

For detailed growing instructions, see my Wild Foods Home Garden Common Blue Violets page.


Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


(By: Rob Routledge CC BY-SA 3.0)


Drawing. (USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 549)


Not always violet in color. Can be blue or like this one called Freckles. (James Steakley CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Important Notes when Identifying
Rules & Cautions
Dangerous Plants to Avoid Touching

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