Common violets (Viola sororia) are prevalent throughout the eastern United States. Their vivid purple-blue flowers contrast with bright yellow dandelions and sparkle like jewels among other plants sprouting from the soil in early spring and "No Mow May." They flourish in cool temperatures when other native plants have not yet flowered. As weather warms, violets will continue to thrive in shady, moist areas.
They reseed easily and spread as groundcover if left to naturalize. Caterpillars of several types of fritillaries (related to butterflies) feed on the foliage of violets, their nearly exclusive food source. Sadly, fritillaries are experiencing the same threats to survival as butterflies. Without common violets, fritillaries will cease to exist. Learn more about violets from the Xerces Society.