Heartsease: A Valentine's Day Blog



Heartsease (Latin name Viola tricolor). This humble European and North

American wildflower has many mentions in history. Seeing as Valentine's Day is nearly here I thought I'd write about a plant that has associations, both medicinal and anecdotal, with the heart.

In Greek and Roman times the flower was used as a love potion. Shakespeare also wrote about heartsease in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' - a potion of this viola caused the play's comic mayhem as heartease was believed to cure anyone who was lovesick.

The viola was also one of Queen Elizabeth I's favourite flowers. Images of these flowers were embroidered on her gowns.


Here is the first verse of a poem by C. Day Lewis:

The Heartsease

Do you remember that hour

In a nook of the flowing uplands

When you found for me, at the cornfield’s edge,

A golden and purple flower?

Heartsease, you said.

I thought it might be

A token that love meant well by you and me.

In Victorian times certain popular flowers were attributed with phrases so that the giving of a bunch of flowers had a secret language. The gift of violas had a message from the giver to the recipient: 'I am thinking of you in an amorous way'.


The viola is also very dear to my heart as it is such an easy flower to press. If you have your own viola plant in the garden you will know that the more you pick the stems, the more flowers will follow. It is in this respect very obliging! A word for me which describes violas is characterful. The leaves do not have a simple outline and the viola's face presents a fearless heart in the face of adverse weather. Often windswept, occasionally couched in snow, the violas in my garden bounce back once Spring is fully under way. With their delicate perfume, a small bunch of violas in a vase will brighten any room.

Three ways to use viola flowers:

  • Crystallise the flowers to use in baked cakes

  • Add fresh flowers to salads

  • Freeze the flowers in ice cubes

Heartsease (Latin name Viola tricolor). This humble European and North

American wildflower has many mentions in history. Seeing as Valentine's Day is nearly here I thought I'd write about a plant that has associations, both medicinal and anecdotal, with the heart.

In Greek and Roman times the flower was used as a love potion. Shakespeare also wrote about heartsease in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' - a potion of this viola caused the play's comic mayhem as heartease was believed to cure anyone who was lovesick.

Here is the first verse of a poem by C. Day Lewis:

The Heartsease

Do you remember that hour

In a nook of the flowing uplands

When you found for me, at the cornfield’s edge,

A golden and purple flower?

Heartsease, you said.

I thought it might be

A token that love meant well by you and me.

In Victorian times certain popular flowers were attributed with phrases so that the giving of a bunch of flowers had a secret language. The gift of violas had a message from the giver to the recipient: 'I am thinking of you in an amorous way'.

The wild tricolor viola was also one of Queen Elizabeth I's favourite flowers.

The viola is also very dear to my heart as it is such an easy flower to press. If you have your own viola plant in the garden you will know that the more you pick the stems, the more flowers will follow. It is in this respect very obliging! A word for me which describes violas is characterful. The leaves do not have a simple outline and the viola's face presents a fearless heart in the face of adverse weather. Often windswept, occasionally couched in snow, the violas in my garden bounce back once Spring is fully under way. With their delicate perfume, a small bunch of violas in a vase will brighten any room.

Three ways to use viola flowers:

  • Crystallise the flowers to use in baked cakes

  • Add fresh flowers to salads

  • Freeze the flowers in ice cubes





#pressedflowerart #pressedflowerartist #violatricolor #pressedflowercrazy

#heartsease #valentinesday #viola



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