Walking along a woodland trail in the spring, one often misses the little violets, unless he or she has a keen eye and especially searches for them. Often they hide among the grasses and other vegetation beneath the trees, shrubs, and taller herbs. Yet, closer examination will yield an exclamation of the wonderful design in the individual flowers.


These plants are perennial herbs, and most species of violets produce two types of flowers: those blooming in the spring and early summer are showy, and “. . . if no seed is produced, the plant develops much smaller flowers in autumn.” 1 These later flowers botanists often call cleistogamous flowers.  More on this term later…

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