Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

Northern Bog Violet (Viola nephrophylla): Images

Date Location Notes Images
April 18, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire I have been nibbling on a lot of violet flowers and some violet leaves while on the trail. The flowers are very tasty!

Differentiating between violet species is sometimes difficult (for me). But the new botanical guide by Arthur Haines, Flora Novae Angliae: A Manual for the Identification of Native and Naturalized Higher Vascular Plants of New England makes it a bit easier. From the pictures below, you can see the flow of steps used to identify this species of violet:
  • Leaves and flower stems arising from rhizomes (underground stems) or stolons (horizontal stem creeping along the ground).
  • Flower petals mostly purple, violet or white.
  • Style (thin tube in the center of flower connecting the ovary) in a scoop-shaped or conical beak. The ovary is hairless.
  • The spur (sticking out of the back of the flower) is 3.2mm long or less and less than 2 times long as it is wide.
  • Flowers mostly purple. No stolons produced.
  • Leaf blades unlobed.
  • Leaf blades less than 1.75 times as long as wide.
  • Hairs of the lower flower petals longer than 1mm.
  • Sepals (outer lobes of the flower -- often green leaf-like structures at the base of the flower) are eciliate (without hairs on the edge).
  • Sepals are narrowly-egg-shaped to oblong (2-4 times longer than broad) with a blunt or rounded tip. This one was a close call. If I was wrong in this and the sepals are lanceolate (lance-shaped -- much longer than wide with widest point below the middle) and the tip comes to a point, then this violet would be Pectinate-Leaved Violet (Viola pectinata).
  • Leaf blades as wide (or wider) than long and hairless. Side flower petals directed forward.
Date Location Notes Images
April 24, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire I thought it might be Common Blue Violet (Wooly Blue Violet) (Viola sororia), but the sepals are ecilliate (without hairs on the edges). See closeup picture below.