Johnny-Jump-Up (Field Pansy)

Viola bicolor
Violaceae (violets)

Flowers: very small, violet-shaped, washed-out blue or violet with a very light yellow or white center. Plants growing on acid soils seem to have more intensive coloration. Blooms March–May. Leaves: to ¾ inch long, rounded, irregularly scalloped. At the base of each there is a large stipule (leaflike appendage) deeply lobed like the spread tail of a bird.

Height: to about 3 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in fields, meadows, glades, rights-of-way, disturbed sites and waste places.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide; absent from our northernmost counties.
Botanists have long been trying to determine this plant's relationship to the other violets in North America. Therefore, in other references you may find it referred to as "Viola rafinesquii" and "Viola kitaibeliana var. rafinesquii." Most now believe this plant is entirely native to North America, though in the past, many thought it was introduced long ago from the Old World.
Human connections: 
Like most other violets and pansies, this plant is edible, and its flowers make a pretty garnish on spring salads. Violets also have a history of being used medicinally and as garden flowers.
Ecosystem connections: 
Often, when we picture "herbivores," we think of large animals like cattle, deer and even mice. But "herbivore" also describes a multitude of insects, and they need plant food, too. Violets are the special food plant of fritillary butterfly caterpillars.
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