Landscape (UK)

COY, TREMBLING PURPLE PETALS

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Found on the fringes of woodland in riotous clusters, the delicate hues of Viola odorata unfold gracefully from the earth in late winter and early spring. Blooming in shades of violet, blue and lacy white above heart-shaped, bright green leaves, the highly fragranced flowers were particular­ly popular in the Victorian period. As a result of their low, nodding appearance, they were regarded as a symbol of fidelity, coined by the poet Leigh Hunt in 1820 as the ‘shrinking violet’, reflecting their shy habit. Commonly known as sweet viola, or wood viola, the plant has since been used in many perfumes.

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