(Viola) Violet family
Three small-flowered, white, purple-veined, and almost beardless
species which prefer to dwell in moist meadows, damp, mossy
places, and along the borders of streams, are the LANCE-LEAVED
VIOLET (V. lanceolata), the PRIMROSE-LEAVED VIOLET (V.
prirnulaefolia), and the SWEET WHITE VIOLET (V.
leaves show successive gradations from the narrow, tapering,
smooth, long-petioled blades of the first to the oval form of the
second and the almost circular, cordate leaf of the delicately
fragrant, little white blanda, the dearest violet of all.
Inasmuch as these are short-spurred species, requiring no effort
for bees to drain their nectaries, no footholds in the form of
beards on the side petals are provided for them. The purple
veinings show the stupidest visitor the path to the sweets.
The sprightly CANADA VIOLET (V. Canadensis), widely distributed
in woodlands, chiefly in hilly and mountainous regions, rears
tall, leafy stems terminated by faintly fragrant white or pale
lavender blossoms, purple-tinged without and purple veined, the
side petals bearded, the long sepals tapering to sharp points.
Here we see a violet in the process of changing from the white
ancestral type to the purple color which Sir John Lubbock, among
other scientists, considers the highest step in chromatic
evolution. This species has heart-shaped, saw-edged leaves which
taper acutely. From May even to July is its regular blooming
season; but the delightful family eccentricity of flowering again
in autumn appears to be a confirmed habit with the Canada violet.
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