Edible flowers/part 1.

The first of our articles introduces the well known and beloved sweet violet.

Interesting facts about violet

Homer portrayed the marriage-bed of Zeus and Hera as a soft violet carpet, in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Violets were used to create a love potion, Queen Elizabeth’s I. and Empress Elizabeth’s (also known as Sissi) favorite color and flower was Violet, Goethe always brought some violet seeds for his walks which he scattered around the forest, thanking nature this way for all her beauty.

A bit of botanics

The Viola odorata L., the Sweet Violet is a species in the order of Violales, in the family of Violaceae. Traditionally known as herb, it’s drog is it’s rhizome (Violae odoratae rhizoma et radix), but the drug is made by its leaves (Violae odoratae folium), and its flower (Violae odoratae flos) as well.

The Sweet Violet is a perennial flower, long and thin tendrils grow from its rhizome. It has flat leaves, so the flowers grow on the scapes. The leaves are heart-shaped, their point is dull-edged.The stipules are wide and egg-shaped. The petals of the flowers are violet until their stems, rarely pale pink or white and have a good odour. It’s capsules are fluffy. It blooms around March or April, or sometimes even in May. It a European floral element, mainly found in the edges of deciduous forests around bushes.

Medicinal properties

In folk medicine the violet’s rhizome was used first and foremost (as cough mixture or tranquilizer), it was collected early spring or late autumn, they were cleaned, and dried in a windy area. The leaves and flowers can be collected as well, they can be dried in a cool, shady area.

It could be used to make tranquilizing concoction because it contains saponins with triterpene frame and salicylic acid. In Pakistan a group of researchers proved that the antipyretic effect of Sweet Violat is very similar to aspirin. In India Violet is a traditionally used medicine for tonsillitis.

The wonderful smell of the flower

Nowadays, its most commonly used part is its flower because of its irresistible scent. In South-France and Italy its flowers are used to make oil (with extrusion or enflourage), which is one of the world’s most expensive essential oil. Because of this, Violet flowers are used by several world-famous fragrance compositions (Christian Dior: J’adore, Gucci: Gucci II, Yves Saint Laurent: L’ Homme, Givenchy: Extravagance, Armani: Emporio Night). Because its A and C vitamin rich agents, it’s often used in hydrating creams as well.

Usage as a food supplement 

Freshly picked petals could be used in salads because of its pleasant color and great taste. Candied flowers could be made out of it as well (be on the lookout for its high sugar content!)

Candied Violet flower:


    • Fresh, unwashed Violet with its stem, from a reliable source
    • 1 eggwhite
    • 2 ts sugar or vanilla sugar

Beat the eggwhie a bit. Plunge the dry Violets into the eggwhie, holding them at their stems. Next we roll them into the sugar. Finally, we cut off the stems and keep the flowers in a hot area or directly under sunlight. (You shouldn’t put them into the owen, as the petals are very sensitive and get burned very quickly)

In our experience they can last for several months. 


 Jurca T,  Pallag A, Marian E, Mureșan M E, Stan R L, Vicaș L G, The Histo-Anatomical Investigation and the Polyphenolic Profile of Antioxidant Complex Active Ingredients from Three Viola Species, Farmacia, 67, vol 4, 2019, 634-640. http://www.revistafarmacia.ro/201904/2019-04-art-12-Jurca_Pallag_Vicas_634-640.pdf

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  6.   T. Jurca, A. Pallag, E. Marian, M.E. Mureșan, R.L. Stan, L.Vicaș, “The histo-anatomical investigation and polyphenolic profile of antioxidant complex active ingredients from three Viola species”, Revista Farmacia, ISSN 0014-8237,67(4), 2019, p. 634-640,
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  10. N. Muhammad, M. Saeed, A. A. Awan, and H. Khan, “Ethnomedicinal, phytochemical and pharmacological profile of genus Viola,” Phytopharmacology, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 214–226, 2012.

The pictures were made by the authors themself.

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