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Viola tricolor

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Viola tricolor, also known as Johnny Jump up (though this name is also applied to similar species such as the yellow pansy), heartsease, heart's ease, heart's delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, or love-in-idleness, is a common European wild flower, growing as an annual or short-lived perennial.

It has been introduced into North America, where it has spread. It is the progenitor of the cultivated pansy, and is therefore sometimes called wild pansy; before the cultivated pansies were developed, "pansy" was an alternative name for the wild form. It can produce up to 50 seeds at a time. The flowers can be purple, blue, yellow or white


Heartsease flowers.
Flowers of Viola tricolor

Viola tricolor is a small plant of creeping and rampingTemplate:Efn habit, reaching at most 15 cm in height, with flowers about 1.5 cm in diameter. It grows in short grassland on farms and wasteland, chiefly on acid or neutral soils. It is usually found in partial shade. Its root is rhizome type with fine rootlets. The stem (acoli stem: which remains flush with the soil and from which leave the leaves and the flowering stalk) is hairless, sometimes downy and is branched. The plant has no leaf rosette at the base, unlike some other violets, such as Viola hirta. Leaves are, on the contrary, alternate . They are stalked at limbus oval, oblong or lanceolate and more or less serrated margins. The stipules are often quite developed, at least those of the upper leaves. These stipules are palm-lined or palmatised.

The flowers are solitary and lateral, hoisted on long peduncles. They appear on aerial stems with more or less long internodes. The sepals are never larger than the corolla . It is 10 to 25 mm long. This corolla can be purple, purple, blue, yellow or white. It can most often be two-tone, yellow and purple. The tricolor shape, yellow, white and purple, is the most sought after.

It flowers from April to September (in the northern hemisphere). They are hermaphrodite and self-fertile, pollinated by bees.


It is common almost everywhere on the Eurasian continent, near the sea or inland, at altitudes ranging from 0 to 2,700 m. It grows in open grasslands, wastelands, mainly on acidic or neutral soils. It is also found on the banks and in the alluviums.

Traditional uses

As some of its names imply, heartsease has a long history of use in herbalism. It has been recommended, among other uses, for epilepsy, asthma, skin diseases, and eczema.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> V. tricolor has a history in folk medicine of helping respiratory problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and cold symptoms.<ref>Rimkiene S. Ragazinskiene O. Savickiene N. (2003). The cumulation of wild pansy (Viola tricolor L.) accessions: The possibility of species preservation and usage in medicine. Medicina (Kaunas), 39(4):411-416.</ref>

It has expectorant properties, and so has been used in the treatment of chest complaints such as bronchitis and whooping cough.Template:Medcn It is also a diuretic,<ref>Toiu A., Muntean E., Oniga I., Vostinaru O., & Tamas M. (2009). Pharmacognostic research on Viola tricolor L. (Violaceae). Revista Medico-Chirurgicala a Societatii de Medici Si Naturalisti Din Iasi, 113 (1):264–267 (Jan–Mar 2009).</ref> leading to its use in treating rheumatism and cystitis.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

The flowers have also been used to make yellow, green and blue-green dyes,<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> while the leaves can be used to indicate acidity.Template:Citation needed

Pharmaceutical drugs serve the dried aerial parts of the flowering plant. Pansy herb with flowers is used internally and externally to treat skin diseases with dandruff, itching and even acne. The drug is generally considered to be "blood purifying" or "metabolism stimulating." The drug is also traditionally used for rheumatic complaints, respiratory catarrh and feverish colds. It has expectorant properties against bronchitis, whooping cough or convulsive cough. It is also a diuretic, leading its use in treating[rheumatitis and cystitis.<ref>Max Wichtl: Teedrogen and phytopharmaceuticals. 4th edition, Scientific Publishing Company, Stuttgart 2002, Template:ISBN</ref>


Viola tricolor in a Norwegian flowerbed

V. tricolor is one of many viola plant species containing cyclotides. These small peptides have proven to be useful in drug development due to their size and structure giving rise to high stability. Many cyclotides, found in Viola tricolor are cytotoxic.<ref name=Tang>Tang J., Wang C.K., Pan X., Yan H., Zeng G., Xu W., He W., Daly N.L., Craik D.J., Tan N. "Isolation and characterization of cytotoxic cyclotides from Viola tricolor", Peptides 2010 31:8 (1434-1440)</ref> This feature means that it could be used to treat cancers.<ref>Erika Svangård, Ulf Göransson, Zozan Hocaoglu, Joachim Gullbo, Rolf Larsson,, Per Claeson and Lars Bohlin, 2004. "Cytotoxic Cyclotides from Viola tricolor" Journal of Natural Products 67 (2), 144-147</ref><ref name=Tang/> Extracts from the plant are anti-microbial.<ref>Witkowska-Banaszczak E, Bylka W, Matławska I, Goślińska O, Muszyński Z, "Antimicrobial activity of Viola tricolor herb". Fitoterapia 76(5):458-461, 2005 Jul.</ref> V. tricolor extract had anti-inflammatory effect in acute inflammation induced in male Wistar rats.<ref>Toiu A. Parvu AE. Oniga I. Tamas M."Evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity of alcoholic extract from Viola tricolor.", Revista Medico-Chirurgicala a Societatii de Medici Si Naturalisti Din Iasi. 111(2):525-9, 2007 Apr-Jun.</ref> The plant, especially the flowers, contain antioxidants and are edible.<ref>Vukics V. Kery A. Guttman A."Analysis of polar antioxidants in Heartsease (Viola tricolor L.) and Garden pansy (Viola x wittrockiana Gams.)". Journal of Chromatographic Science. 46(9):823-7, 2008 Oct.</ref>

Heartsease contains flavonoid, which is a colorless crystalline compound,<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> that is proven to be useful in prophylaxis, which is actions taken to prevent diseases, and in treatment of cardiovascular problems, complications of diabetes, inflammations, immune disorders, and liver problems, just to list a few indications. It also contains 10 percent mucilage consisting of glucose, galactose, arabinose and rhamnose, as well as tannins, salicylic acid and its derivatives.


In addition, it contains the drug phenolcarboxylic acids, such as coffee and coumaric acid, as well as flavonoids such as quercetin, luteolin and rutin. Various carotenoids have been isolated from the drug : violaxanthin, antheraxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Anthocyanidins and coumarins, such as umbelliferone, could also be detected. The wild pansy contains contrary to earlier references no saponins , but hemolytically active peptides.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> Plants contain aglycones: apigenin, chrysoeriol, isorhamnetin, kaempferol, luteolin, quercetin<ref>Vukics V. Ringer T. Kery A. Bonn GK. Guttman.,"Analysis of heartsease (Viola tricolor L.) flavonoid glycosides by micro-liquid chromatography coupled to multistage mass spectrometry." Journal of Chromatography A. 1206(1):11-20, 2008 Oct 3.</ref> and rutin.<ref>Vukics V. Toth BH. Ringer T. Ludanyi K. Kery A. Bonn GK. Guttman A.,"Quantitative and qualitative investigation of the main flavonoids in heartsease (Viola tricolor L.)". Journal of Chromatographic Science. 46(2):97-101, 2008 Feb.</ref>

The fresh plant Viola declinata and V. tricolor contain approximately

  • saponins (4.40%),
  • mucilages (10.26%),
  • total carotenoids (8.45 mg/100g vegetal product, expressed in β-carotene).<ref>Toiu A., Muntean E., Oniga I., Tǎmaş M. "Pharmacognostic research on Viola declinata Waldst. et Kit. (Violaceae)" Farmacia 2009 57:2 (219-222)</ref>

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> is the most common extracranial malignancy in childhood. In many patients, once the tumor starts to develop even with intensive therapy, it will continue to progress. The study is designed to see the effect of Viola tricolor against neuronlastoma N2a cells. In the end, there was no significant change to the cell at first glance. As a ornamental and medicinal plant, the wild pansy has been cultivated since the Middle Ages and bred in Britain since 1810 .<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>


According to Roman mythology, the wild pansy turned into the Love-in-idleness as Cupid shot one of his arrows at the imperial votaress, but missed and instead struck it. As Cupid is the god of desire, affection and erotic love, the flower’s juice received the trait, to act as a love potion. Its name relates to the use of the flower, as it is often used for idleness or vileness acts.

According to Greek mythology, Zeus fell in love with a young woman named Io_(mythology) and provoked jealousy to his wife Hera. He transformed the girl into a heifer and kept her grazing at his feet. For pity on the diet of herbs to which he submitted the beloved, he caused the earth to produce beautiful flowers that he called Io. Another Greek legend has it that the delicate white flowers were worshiped by Eros. To inhibit this worship, Aphrodite colored them, which resulted in tricolor coloration.

In history , the Greeks and the Chinese used the vials as medicine, and the Celts and Romans made them perfumes.


On a dry grassland.

Long before cultivated pansies were released into the trade in 1839, V. tricolor was associated with thought in the "language of flowers", often by its alternative name of pansy (from the French pensée "thought"Template:Citation needed): hence Ophelia's often quoted line in Shakespeare's Hamlet, "There's pansies, that's for thoughts". (What Shakespeare had in mind was V. tricolor, the wild pansy, not a modern garden pansy.)

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Shakespeare makes a more direct reference, probably to V. tricolorTemplate:Efn in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Oberon sends Puck to gather "a little western flower that maidens call love-in-idleness". Oberon's account is that he diverted an arrow from Cupid's bow aimed at "a fair vestal, throned by the west" (supposedly Queen Elizabeth I) to fall upon the plant "before milk-white, now purple with love's wound". The "imperial vot'ress" passes on "fancy-free", destined never to fall in love.

In Act II and III, Oberon's and Puck's intervention with the magic love potion of the flower, they can control the fates of various characters, but also speed up the process of falling in and out of love, so that the actual romances of the lovers and their love itself appears to become very comical. Shakespeare uses the flower to provide the essential dramatic and comical features for his play. Besides that the love potion gained from the flower, does not only interfere with the lovers fates, but also gives the play structure as it affects the lovers' romances drastically, as it at first upsets the balance of love and creates asymmetrical love among the four Athenian lovers. The fact that this flower introduces magical love to this play creates the potential for many possible outcomes for this play.

The juice of the heartsease now, claims Oberon, "on sleeping eyelids laid, Will make or man or woman madly dote Upon the next live creature that it sees." Equipped with such powers, Oberon and Puck control the fates of various characters in the play to provide Shakespeare's essential dramatic and comic structure for the play.

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Yellow flower.

The love-in-idleness was originally a white flower, struck by one of Cupid's arrows, which turned it purple and gave it its magic love potion. When dripped onto someone's eyelids this love potion causes an individual to fall madly in love with the next person they see. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare uses this flower as a plot device to introduce the comical disturbance and chaos of love, but also to highlight the irrationality of romantic love. Here love is depicted as a sort of benevolent affliction. Shakespeare presents love to be something contradicting to one's normal feelings and ideas. However he also depicts the fact that those can lead to foolish and hurtful things and present the idea that love can also end in tragedy. The play shows that love can be a source of comedy as easily as of tragedy and therefore show that the power that the love potion from the Love-in-idleness inherits is beyond the comprehension of the fairies and mortals. In the end, the love-in-idleness nectar is used to restore all romances in the play to their original states (including Demetrius' prior affections for Helena before he turned to Hermia.)

The effects of the love-in-idleness can be very dramatic and tragic, no matter if the intentions were right. The play reaches its point at which Demetrius and Lysander are trying to kill one another. Although Hermia and Helena are not trying to kill one another, they are suffering from the rejection of their lovers and considerable verbal abuse. However this still happened at a very comical level as the lovers were not aware of their situation. Again the more they were trying to present the dramatic side of love, the hate, jealousy and anger, the less they became serious and so their anger turned unreal. In the end love is not denied and the lovers are back together. Nevertheless, Shakespeare ends the lover's story as a comedy, with the inclusion of several tragic and dramatic moments. This is supposed to show that love can be a source of comedy as easily as of tragedy and therefore show that the power that the love potion from the Love-in-idleness inherits is beyond the comprehension of the fairies and mortals.

The Taming of the Shrew

Shakespeare mentions it in his play The Taming of the Shrew where Luciento claims he found the effect of love-in-idleness - alluding to its qualities to simulate the effects of love. Template:Quotation

Purple flower.

Rossetti uses heartsease as a metaphor of growing older as her confidence and her vision increases. The heartsease is known as love-lies-bleeding which is a type of the inseparability of the pain of living and the love of Christ. The garden was adorn with the flower which served as the speaker's life. The "weed" represents the sins of the speaker's life. However at the end, the speaker pleads her pain and waits her judgment.

Heartsease I found, where Love-lies-bleeding

 Empurpled all the ground:

Whatever flowers I missed unheeding,

 Heartsease I found.

 Yet still my garden mound

Stood sore in need of watering, weeding,

 And binding growths unbound.

Ah, when shades fell to light succeeding

 I scarcely dared look round:

'Love-lies-bleeding' was all my pleading,

 Heartsease I found.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

See also





External links

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