The Second Kind of Violet

The Second Kind of Violet


by Alma Green

The word “violet” invokes the image of a vibrant, blue and purple colored flower. But there’s a second kind of violet that only grows underground, never seeing the light of day. Because they’re cleistogamous (which comes from the Greek words “cleistos,” closed, and “games,” marriage), they never attain color since they don’t need to attract a pollinator.

As this blog via the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine explains, cleistogamous flowers don’t need to attract anything because they’re “in a closed relationship with themselves.”

What’s the benefit of having this underground flower? As Chestnut Herbs explains, it basically functions as a “plan b”:

So why do this cryptic non-gene-pool-strengthening-of questionable-moral-character thing? Because even violets need a plan B! What if slugs come along and eat all your flowers, or a seven-year-old girl picks all your flowers for her mini doll wild foods tea party? Behold the picture below, and you will understand the evolutionary pressures violets have faced for millennia. Are you telling me you wouldn’t make a few hidden flowers when faced with similar danger?

Read more about this secret violet here.

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