February’s flower is the Violet


Every flower has a history and symbolic meaning.  

 

Meaning: Modesty, faithfulness, virtue

February’s birth flower is the Violet.  It is also known as the African Violet. The flower is a five-petal velvety blossom that comes in shades of pinks, whites and purples. They are available as a houseplant or garden plant all year round.

Baron Walter Von Saint Paul Illaire is credited with discovering the violet plant in Tanzania in 1892.

Violet Facts, Trivia and Folklore:

 

The Greek word for violet is io. Io is a character in Greek mythology and the daughter of King Argos. Zeus loved her. However, Zeus was concerned that Hera (his wife) would discover their affair, so he turned Io into a heifer and then created the sweet-scented flowers that we now know as violets for her to graze upon.

 

 

Violets also have a unique method of reproduction, known as cleistogamy, which means to self-pollinate.    

 

During the Middle Ages, violets were a symbol for humility and modesty not only because of the blooming habits of the flower but also because of their association with the Virgin Mary. 
The god Hades fell in love with the maiden Persephone. One day while Persephone was walking through a field of violets, Hades carried her away to his land of death. The world mourned her death and became barren until Hades relented and agreed that Persephone could walk on the earth from spring through fall. Thus leading to violets symbolizing immortality, resurrection and spring. 

 

 

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia, upon learning of the death of her father, Polonius, speaks to the queen in the language of the flowers, quite common in the 16th century.  Her allusions are to the tragic event which has taken place and the emotions and attributes symbolized by certain flowers: rosemary for remembrance; pansies for love; fennel for flattery; columbine for ingratitude; rue for repentance; daisies for faithlessness; and violets for constancy or devotion.  In act IV, scene 5, she sings distraughtly while in the company of the queen, “

 

I would give some violets, but they withered all when my father died: they say he made a good end .”

The Greek dramatist, Aristophanes, referred to Athens in one of his plays as the violet-crowned city for King Ion (Ion means Violet).

 

When French composer Frederick Chopin died, one of his music students Jane Sterling bought all the violets she could find in the flower shops of Paris to cover his grave. So beloved is Chopin that, even today visitors daily place flowers (frequently violets) on this grave in Paris.

 

Josephine Bonaparte loved the scent of violets and thus they became her favorite perfume.  Before Napoleon was exiled in Elba, Josephine died and he picked a bouquet of violets for her grave. When Napoleon died, violets and a lock of Josephine’s hair were found in a locket that he wore.

2 thoughts on “February’s flower is the Violet

  1. Because of your site, I have the perfect flower centerpiece for my friend’s February birthday dinner this Sunday. Thank you

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