The wild violet has spread its enchantment over the earth for over two millennia.
According to legend, Zeus who was in love with Io turned her into a white heifer to help shield her from the wrath of Hera, his wife. Because the grass was too coarse for his love, he turned her tears into violets that she might eat a sweeter, more delicate food.
Both the Ancient Romans and Greeks cultivated violets as far back as 600 BC, using them for many purposes including love sachets, hangover remedies, sleep aids, heart medications, sweeteners, and even wine making. Earliest written accounts of the violet's beauty are found in the writings of Homer and Virgil. Through the centuries, the violet has been noted and esteemed in poetry, legend, and history for its sweetness and captivating colors.
In fact, the violet has been immortalized in poetry throughout the ages.
During the 18th century, plant growers in France saw that there was commercial value in the violet and began collecting them, planting them, and developing the commercial strains, many of which were the forerunners of the violets grown today. Commercial violets were first grown for sale as cut flowers, perfumery, and candy making. As the world fell in love with the violet, nurseries developed strains with larger blooms and variants in color.
Small flowers born on slender stems are deceptively fragile looking, but the wild violet is a hardy perennial that has not only endured for centuries, but has spread and is now widely scattered throughout the world. Wild violets are found in Europe, Asia, and in every state in the United States.