Friends of the Wild Flower Garden

Dutchman's Breeches

For 65 years - Dedicated to Protecting, Preserving and Promoting
The interests of The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Garden Plant of the Week

Downy Yellow Violet

Downy Yellow Violet
Viola pubescens Aiton

This pale yellow violet is native to Minnesota and found in most counties of the State. It has an above ground leafy stem and most examples will have fine downy hair on the stem, although one of two varietes found here may have a smooth stem. The 3 lower petals have purple veining, acting as nectar guides for pollinating insects. It is a plant of the uplands - moist to dry wooded areas, the flowers appearing in mid to late Spring. It is indigenous to the Wildflower Garden and was also planted by Eloise several times and by Martha Crone in the 1950s. It generally produces seed pods, unlike the Common Blue Violet, but like the Common Blue it also has cleistogamous flowers in some of the leaf axils - flowers whose buds do not open, but self-fertilize in bud and produce seeds.


Eloise Butler Wrote:

"The violets are pre-eminently the flowers of May, and is it not true that of all flowers they are the most beloved, not excepting the rose? At least nine sorts of violets can be readily distinguished by the novice in the vicinity of Minneapolis. Violets may be classed under two heads - the leafless and the leaf-stemmed. The leafless species have only a subterranean stem, while the other class have also a stem above ground. One is rapturously happy when he chances upon a meadow tufted with clumps of these violets. No wonder at such a time one supposedly guiltless of “dropping into poetry” was heard crooning over and over to himself, “I would rather know where violets grow than a good many other things!” " May 21, 1911.

A Seasonal Poem

When beechen buds begin to swell,
And woods the blue-bird’s warble know,
The Yellow violet’s modest bell
Peeps from the last year’s leaves below.

Ere russet fields their green resume,
Sweet flower, I love, in forest bare,
To meet thee, when thy faint perfume
Alone is in the virgin air.

Of all her train, the hands of Spring
First plant thee in the watery mould,
And I have seen thee blossoming
Beside the snow-bank’s edges cold.

Taken from "The Yellow Violet" by
Wm. Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

Friends' Campaign 175

Fund raising for phase 2 of the Garden Boardwalk
Details Here for Information on How You Can Help.

Garden Boardwalk

Common Spring Plants in the Garden


Illustrated Article: The 25 most common Spring blooming plants at Eloise Butler with average bloom dates.

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Last site update: 04/22/17. Next planned update: 04/29/17