Keep an eye out for water violet
A PLANT that you might come across in ditches, ponds and small lakes across east Kent is the attractive water violet. This plant is in the primrose family, but differs in being completely aquatic. The water violet flowers during the late spring and has distinctive five-petalled pink to pale purple flowers with a yellow centre. The flowers are arranged on a leafless stalk, which sticks rigid out of the water. After flowering, the fruit stalks bend downwards and the seed ripens in the water. The leaves are fine and feathery and are found under the surface of the water. The long roots are silvery in colour and glisten in the water. This plant is not be confused with the cuckooflower or lady’s smock, which grows on the banks of ditches or wet grassy areas and is in flower earlier, with differences in the leaf, stem and flowers. The origin of the name is uncertain. A number of ornamental lakes and ponds have introduced water violet to add an early splash of colour before the mid summer floral bloom around the water’s edge.