There is the term “shy violet”, which would suggest that a violet is quiet and unobtrusive. Well this cousin of the violet, the Field Pansy, is even more quiet. Yet is seems to be everywhere. Take a walk in a field in late March or April and watch your feet. In between the dandelions and dead nettle are these little pale lavender flowers. They don’t grow in thick patches, rather you’ll just find them sprinkled here and there. And here and there. And seemingly everywhere. Once you spot them you wonder how you missed seeing there were so many of them!
The flowers themselves are about 1/2″ to 3/4″ across and bloom on single stems. The flower itself has a flat “face” with five petals that are blue to white, quite variable, and have a tiny yellow throat. There is also a charming set of dark purple lines radiating from the center on the bottom petals, which could be called whiskers or a beard. Field Pansies are related to Violets.
The botanical name is Viola bicolor, but there is some debate if this is a native species or this is really a variation of Viola kitaibeliana which is a very similar European plant. Scientists will debate, it seems.