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Violet Family (Violaceae)

Other Uses Of Violets

The sweet violet has been cultivated in large quantities in southern France for the production of a fragrant oil from its flowers, known as oil-of-violets. This oil is used in the mixing of perfumes and other scents. The yield of one tonne of fresh flowers is only 28-43 g (.98-1.51 oz) of oil-of-violets. Interestingly, this light-green oil only has a faint scent when in its concentrated, distilled state, but when diluted to about 1:5000 its odor becomes very strong. The scent of violets can now been synthesized by chemists, so natural oil-of-violets is now rare.

Sometimes the flowers of pansies are served as an attractive, edible garnish to well-presented, epicurean foods. Pansies are also sometimes candied as an exotic confectionary.

Some minor organic medicines are prepared from several species in the Violaceae, mostly for use as emetics. These medicinal plants include Anchietea salutaris, Corynostylis hybanthus, and Hybanthus ipecacuanha.

Resources

Books

Conger, R.H.M., and G.D. Hill. Agricultural Plants. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press,1991.

Hartmann, H.T., A.M. Kofranek, V.E. Rubatzky, and W.J. Flocker. Plant Science: Growth, Development, and Utilization of Cultivated Plants. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall,1988.

Judd, Walter S., Christopher Campbell, Elizabeth A. Kellogg, Michael J. Donoghue, and Peter Stevens. Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach. 2nd ed. with CD-ROM. Suderland, MD: Sinauer, 2002.


Bill Freedman

KEY TERMS

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Cleistogamy

—This refers to flowers that do not open, but are self-fertilizing and set viable seed. Various species of Viola are cleistogamous.

Emetic

—A substance that induces vomiting.

Inflorescence

—A grouping or arrangement of florets or flowers into a composite structure.

Weed

—Any plant that is growing abundantly in a place where humans do not want it to be.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Verbena Family (Verbenaceae) - Tropical Hardwoods In The Verbena Family to WelfarismViolet Family (Violaceae) - Species Native To North America, Ornamental Violets, Other Uses Of Violets