Violets in February :: Birth flower of the Month
The humble violet flower, with its not-so-humble colouring, represents Love, Faithfulness, Wisdom, Hope & Truthfulness. So what a perfect flower to celebrate the month in which Valentine's Day falls.
In the second month of the year, we're delving into the history and use of Birth Flowers to symbolise each calendar month. Because if you know somebody celebrating a birthday this month, it may be rather lovely to surprise them with a gift of sweet violets.
hope & truthfulness.
In the old fashioned Language of Flowers, whereupon lovers could gift each other posies which conveyed a meaning, the inclusion of sweetly scented violets would imply that the giver was sincere in their love for the recipient, as the actual message was "I'll always be true in my love of you." Which is as sweet as the scent of the violet...
And if you were to gift a February Birthday person violets, it would suggest that you concurred that their personality does in fact display tendencies of wisdom, hope and truthfulness. So who wouldn't like to be given violets, then??
Violets are from the Violaceae family, a group of flowering plants mostly found in the Northern Hemisphere. (But some occur in Australia, the Andes and Hawaii.) Most are perennials, such as the common English Violet (or Viola Odorata) which is used for in perfume. The family also includes pansies - those easy-care annuals which can grow in a little pot as long as they get full sun for part of the day.
Violets have heart shaped leaves, which is rather perfect for February, the month of love after all.
One of the fascinating facts about violets is that they contain ionone, which is a rather clever little compound because it stops the receptors in the nose from detecting any other scent, at least until the nerves come back to the senses (pun intended). So when we breathe deeply into a bunch of violets and exclaim how wonderfully strong the scent is, we're being tricked really. Isn't nature clever?
While violets are mostly, ahem, violet, they do come in other colours - such as yellow, pale pink, white, cream and blue. They are often bi-coloured, and come in beautiful antique colours. If you have a sunny spot, they will happily flower for most of spring and summer with their cheerful little faces upturned to the sun.
Violets are a much loved flower for decorating smoothie bowls and fruit desserts - as they are edible.
Try these uses for edible violets:
- Freeze violet flowers in ice cube trays for a pretty inclusion in drinks
- Make crystallised violets: brush each flower with aquafaba and dust with caster sugar. Allow to dry.
- Make violet truffes by combining equal parts melted dark (vegan) chocolate with coconut cream. Stir in culinary violet oil, and allow to set in a shallow dish. When set, scoop out small teaspoonfuls and roll into balls. Dust in raw cacoa and decorate each with a fresh or dried violet flower.
- Steep a mixture of violet flowers and leaves in boiling water for 3 minutes to make a tea.
MEDICINAL USES FOR violets
Violet flowers were traditionally used in Medieval times as a laxative and as a cough expectorant. The leaves contain high levels of vitamin A and C, and can be used as a tea. It was believed, centuries ago, that violet leaves could be used to alleviate cancer, and some contemporary studies are delving into the compounds of the leaves to discover if there is any basis for this.
GIFT IDEAS OF VIOLETS FOR FEBRUARY BIRTHDAYS
So if you know somebody having a birthday this February, perhaps consider gifting them something with their beautiful, fragrant Violet birth flower as its theme.
Either a little pot of the sweetly scented plant itself, a posy of fresh blooms, a cake decorated with pansies or violets, or perhaps Violet perfume or shaving cream.
Because who doesn't like a gift of flowers?