Adopted in 1908.
Illinois was the first of four states
to choose the violet, Viola sororia,
as its state flower. The violet was
selected to be Illinois' state flower by
schoolchildren in 1908. The violet is
also the state flower for New Jersey,
Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
Although its name suggests its color, the violet comes in many colors
including yellow, white, blue-violet,
lilac-purple, and even an unusual green!
There are at least 30 common violet
species in Illinois with at least 25
types found in the Chicago area alone.
Most species have small flowers (about 1
inch to 1½ inches across) usually
containing five petals.
Violets are found in all kinds of
sites from sunny prairies and lawns to
shady woods and wetlands. The flowering
season of the violet depends on the
species and spans from mid-March to
June. The whole violet is a favorite
meal of rabbits, while mice, wild
turkeys, ruffed grouse and mourning
doves eat only the seeds.
One violet species is nicknamed
"Johnny Jump-up" and many others have
been the subject of poems and nursery
rhymes. They have also been called
"nature's vitamin pill." Believe it or
not, violets are high in vitamin A and
contain more vitamin C (ounce for ounce)
The law that made the violet the
state flower designated the "blue
violet." Unfortunately, Gleason and
Cronquist recognize approximately eight
species of blue-flowered violets in the
state. The most common of these is the
dooryard violet (Viola sororia).
The dooryard violet is certainly one
of the most recognizable native
wildflowers in the state. It is also one
of the most easily grown; it grows in
anything from full sunlight to deep
Many types of violets, including the
dooryard violet, produce two kinds of
flowers. The large showy flowers that
people associate with the plants are
common in the spring. After the showy
flowers have bloomed, the plant produces
small, closed flowers on short stems
near the ground. These flowers look like
small buds. It is these small, closed
flowers that produce most of the seeds.
The showy flowers are edible. The
petals are frequently covered with sugar
and used as decorations on cakes.
- Family: Violet (Violaceae)
- Habitat: woods, meadows,
- Height: 3-8 inches
- Flower size: 3/4 to 1
- Flower color:
blue-purple, occasionally white or
- Flowering time: April to
- Origin: native
||Plantae -- Plants
||Spermatophyta -- Seed
||Violaceae -- Violet
Willd. -- common blue violet