Short stature but bright blooms!
Early Blue Violet, true to its name, blooms in early spring! Its blooms are a very rich shade somewhere between purple and blue. It also has very rich green leaves. Like many violets, Early Blue Violet will spread very slowly, both by rhizomes and seed. We think it looks best without too many tall plants to overshadow it.
Early Blue Violet leaves are edible, and are a good source of vitamins A and C! Don't eat other parts of the plant though - the roots, flowers, and seeds are poisonous.
Butterflies typically lay their eggs on specific species of plants, which their caterpillars can then use as food. These plants are called host plants, and Early Blue Violet is an important host plant for many species of butterfly. In the Seattle Area, it is a host plant for two endangered butterflies - the Mardon Skipper (Polites Mardon) and the Zerene Fritillary (Speyeria Zerene).
Early Blue Violet is adapted to disturbance - in the Seattle area, as in much of this continent, this was historically often achieved by fire. Prior to colonization, many Coast Salish tribes used fire to clear areas for food plants such as Camas. Today these ecosystems are threatened by habitat descruction, invasive species, and fire suppression. In addition to preserving these ecosystems, we can provide habitat for these plants and animals in our yards.
Photo Credit: By Walter Siegmund (talk) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4592922
Photo Credit: By Walter Siegmund (talk) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9802190