What's this weed?
April 3, 2016 6:21 PM   Subscribe

What's this weed? We have these growing in the yard (I am in Baltimore, MD) and the wife thinks they are beautiful. We just can't tell what it is.
posted by brownrd to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Wild violets?
posted by wintersweet at 6:25 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Those are common violets, I think. Lovely color!
posted by WowLookStars at 6:25 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

WOW! This place rocks. THANKS WLS!
posted by brownrd at 6:29 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yup, violets. We used to get yellow ones (less commonly) in the woods around where I grew up in Maryland.
posted by deludingmyself at 6:29 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

They're crazy invasive, but they sure are pretty. I think you can eat/candy the flowers (at least, my daughter likes to eat them in the spring in Alaska, and she's doing ok).
posted by leahwrenn at 7:04 PM on April 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

You can also make violet liqueur!
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 7:08 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can make violet syrup out of them. Or just sprinkle the flowers on top of salads. They are edible.

The leaves are also the only caterpillar food source for the Greater Fritillary butterfly.
posted by Ostara at 7:31 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Note that some violets are deeply aromatic, while others taste like... lettuce. It isn't hard to tell which kind you've got. But I mention the distinction because, at one time, I was ignorant of it and actually tried candying some violets I had collected. It was a source of mystification and disappointment to me when they came out tasting like... sugary lettuce.
posted by aws17576 at 7:55 PM on April 3, 2016 [5 favorites]

aws17576, that explains SO MUCH. I used to try to eat them as a kid because I was told that they were tasty. Just tasted like greenery to me!
posted by WowLookStars at 8:07 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

They tolerate shade well and are great as a hedge border to make the base of hedges prettier. They will definitely spread, which I think is a feature, not a bug, but that might just be me.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:36 PM on April 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I spent 1997 and 1998 digging those things out of my lawn. They have ginger-link root, meaning they have staying power. Gotta dig 'em out.
posted by intermod at 10:05 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, you can eat violets. I grew up in Maryland, and every Spring my mom would make us violet sandwiches, which consisted of a slice of bread with cream cheese on top and violets on top of that, served open-face. The violets looked really bright against the white of the cream cheese, and they tasted nice too (pretty mild).
posted by teponaztli at 12:01 AM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

And now you know the common difference between a weed and a wildflower: how much you like them.
posted by ldthomps at 8:46 AM on April 4, 2016 [6 favorites]

They are my favorite flower. They are a broadleaf plant and susceptible to weedkillers. They like rich soil.

When I tried to make candied violets, I ruined a saucepan. Burnt sugar is hard to remove. In case you were wondering.
posted by theora55 at 11:46 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

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