Native Violets

Viola hederacea

Frequently mistaken or mis-sold for the more common and more showy Viola banksii , which was first collected and named by Joseph Banks in 1770 at Botany Bay.

Our Native Violet (Viola hederacea) is a creeping, evergreen perennial groundcover native to eastern Australia and the Western Pacific Islands. It grows to about 10cm tall, and spreads widely and easily through trailing stolons (runners) that take root again at the nodes. The leaves are kidney-shaped and bright green in colour. The purple and white flowers appear mainly in the warmer months, however this plant is rarely without a few flowers. 

V. hederacea will grow happily in the shade but not flower as prolifically, so if you are looking for flowers do make sure your plants get some (preferably) morning sun, as they will wilt in hot afternoon sun. However, if the roots remain cool and moist, the plants will usually recover.

How to use native violets in the kitchen

Native violets are delightful and don’t have a strong taste, so can be used with sweet or savoury foods. Enjoy their delicate beauty as a finishing touch on small cakes and friands, or if you have plenty, add them to a spring salad. You can add the small green leaves to your salad, too. Flowers are fairly prolific from spring to autumn, so these are a handy flower to have in your garden if you like to use edible flowers.

Both the flowers and the young leaves are edible, and can be used equally successfully with sweet or savoury foods. Enjoy the delicate flavour of the flowers and their good looks as a finishing touch for small cakes, a garnish for cocktails and desserts or a decoration to a spring salad.

Useful links to further information

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