Urban Wild Foraging with Garliq
Episode #2 – Violets
Allow me to introduce you to my 2nd Favourite spring green: Violet
In this 2nd episode of Urban Wild Foraging with Garliq, I’m nestled in the beautiful woods of North Vancouver, exploring the shady, wet world of the Streambank Violet.
In this Video, you’ll learn :
- How to Find Violets
- How to Identify Them
- Violets as Food
- Traditional Uses of Violet
- A Caution when Foraging
How to find them …
They like wet feet. Look in wet places! The Streambank Violet (Viola glabella) loves the shade of the woods and can be found in the forest not far from rivers and streams.
3 Keys to Identification for Violet Foraging …
- Flowers have 5 petals, often with dark lines painted on the lower 2 petals. They range in colour from yellow, white, light purple (violet), or dark purple.
- Heart shaped leaves often growing in pairs from the base of the stem. These pairs usually have one large and one small leaf.
- Roots are stolons. meaning they run parallel to the ground surface, but just under the soil a little. Examining the roots, you’ll see that many plants are connected.
There is a look-alike …
False Lily of the Valley (FLV) could be mixed up with Violets. It grows in the same places and also has a somewhat heart-shaped leaf.
But don’t worry, it’s easy to be sure you’ve got Violet.
The sure fire way to make sure you’ve got the right plant is to only pick it when the Violet is flowering. The False Lily of the Valley has a white flower that looks much different AND it flowers at a different time of year. So, if you have a Violet flower in your hand, then the leaves and roots in your hand (must be Violets, right?
False Lily of the Valley looks different from Violet in 4 Clear Ways …
- FLV has larger leaves that do not grow in opposite-facing pairs, as Violets do.
- FLV leaves are shiny (“glabrous”) with veins running parallel up the leaf vs. Violets has a network of veins in the leaf
- FLV flowers grow in a spike, with small bell-shaped white flowers.
- FLV has one or two stems coming out from the root together vs. Violets leaves growing in a cluster
Violets as Food …
I eat the leaves and flowers raw, mostly Either nibbling while hiking or mixing them into a spring salad. The roots can also be eaten cooked or raw.
It’s high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A, but the reason I eat this wild jem is because I feel great when I eat it. The taste is mild and can come with a little tingle in your mouth.
Violet Vinegar …
If you’re adventurous, try making an Infused Violet Vinegar. Chop up some violet leaves and flowers*, stuff them in a jar and pour in apple cider vinegar until the jar is full. Shake it every day or two. After a month, strain it through some cheesecloth and use the vinegar as a secret ingredient in a salad dressing.
* If you have a big patch of violets, you can try putting only flowers in the vinegar. This will create a beautiful colour change in your final vinegar.
Violets as Medicine …
You’ll find Violets in many old recipes for coughs and colds. If you check the cough syrup at a health food store, it’s likely there.
It has a long tradition as a women’s herb for supporting breast health and regulating a woman’s cycle. More recent scientific studies are showing that Violet is effective at reducing or eliminating tumours in breast tissue. (*I’m sorry that I don’t have specific materials to reference this, so take it with a grain of salt until I track down some sources)
A Caution when Foraging …
Wild Violets are delicate plants living in a delicate ecosystem.
Take only what you need.
And Remember …
The point of these videos is to encourage you to get outside and look for wild plants.
Next April, go find Violets!Return to Foraging Videos
Also Check Out:
The Living Medicine Blog for recipes for wild foods and herbal medicines, tips and tricks on ‘how to’ with herbs, as well as some plant geek fun from time to time.
The Community Foraging Maps for the Vancouver Area and the Nelson Area. Built for you, by you.
The New Here? page, if you’re new to this site. It explains everything I do around here