Sweetly scented blue flowers, on low growing plants with heart shaped leaves. Spreading habit, wildflower.
Plants can be grown as a ground cover when spaced about 30cm apart each way. They make an effective weed-excluding cover.
Sweet violet has a long and proven history of folk medicine use.
Succeeds in most soils but prefers a cool moist well-drained humus-rich soil in partial or dappled shade and protection from scorching winds. When grown in the open it prefers a moderately heavy rich soil.
The plants will often self-sow freely when well-sited. They can also spread fairly rapidly at the roots when they are growing well. Responds well to an annual replanting in rich loose leafy soils.
Young leaves and flower buds - raw or cooked. Usually available all through the winter. The leaves have a very mild flavour, though they soon become quite tough as they grow older. They make a very good salad, their mild flavour enabling them to be used in bulk whilst other stronger-tasting leaves can then be added to give more flavour. When added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as okra. Also used as a flavouring in puddings etc.
A tea can be made from the leaves.
Flowers - raw. Used to decorate salads and desserts. A sweet mild flavour with a delicate perfume, the flowers are an especially welcome decoration for the salad bowl since they are available in late winter. The flowers are also used fresh to flavour and colour confectionery. A soothing tea can be made from the leaves and flowers.
A leaf extract is used to flavour sweets, baked goods and ice cream.