Violets or Violas are a common and widely distributed family (Violaceae). They have 5 distinct petals with the lower petal of some being slightly pointed and most have purplish veins leading to the centre of the flower. There are violas that like moist shady woodland areas, some like drylands, and some like alpine areas. Violas are an important host plant for the fritillary butterflies, with some species only using violas as host plants. Trailing Yellow Violet (Viola Sempervirens) and Stream Violet (Viola glabella) are both yellow violet that like moist forests areas. Trailing Yellow Violet has a rounded bottom petal while the Stream Violet has a pointed bottom petal. Alaska Violet (Viola langsdorfii) also likes moist areas but has blueish-violet coloured flower.

There are also two white violas. Marsh Violet (Viola palustris) which likes wetlands, and Canada Violet (Viola canadensis) which likes moist to dry woodlands areas. There are two violas that like dry open areas. Early Blue Violet (Viola adunca) with a blue to deep violet colour, and Yellow Montane Violet (Viola praemorsa) that has yellow flowers and likes dry grassy / meadow areas and Garry Oak savannah of the southern tip of Vancouver Island and SW tip of the lower mainland.

Pansies are Violas and there are many varieties of Violas at garden stores with an abundance of colours. These are non-natives of BC. Viola flowers are edible and add colour to salads and drinks.

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