“The scattered violets lie..”

The spring comes late here, and the earliest wildflowers are deep in the woods, where the trees are not yet in leaf, and there is still plenty of light. Spring is also short, so these early flowers are often on tiny plants, since the spring growing period doesn’t allow much time for anything to grow tall before it flowers.

I like the violets and pansies, all members of the Viola family. Here are a few for you to enjoy.

A Northern White Violet, Viola pallens:


A Round-leaved Violet, Viola rotundifolia:

Round-leaved Violet

A Common Blue Violet, Viola papilionacea:

Common Blue Violet

The last one for today is not a viola, but it is very tiny, and very deep in the woods! It is called Goldthread, Coptis groenlandica, and has a single 1/2″ flower, which is exquisite:


The white “petals” are actually sepals, and the real flower is the central portion. The true petals are the golden yellow club shapes, each with a cup-shaped tip that holds nectar.

My title is from the poem March Violet by John Clare. Violets here in Maine are not till late April or early May.

Where last years leaves & weeds decay
March violets are in blow
I’d rake the rubbish all away
& give them room to grow

Near neighbour to the Arum proud
Where dew drops fall & sleep
As purple as a fallen cloud
March violets bloom & creep

Scenting the gales of early morn
They smell before they’re seen
Peeping beneath the old white thorn
That shows its tender green

The lambs will nible by their bloom
& eat them day by day
Till briars forbid his steps to come
& Then he skips away

Mid nettle stalks that wither there
& on the greensward lie
All bleaching in the thin march air
The scattered violets lie

I know the place it is a place
In spring where nettles come
There milk white violets show their face
& blue ones earlier bloom


2 thoughts on ““The scattered violets lie..””

  1. I love your photos & the poem. I’m not familiar with Goldthread…it’s gorgeous. I have a patch of about 30 Star of Bethlehem, which looks a little similar to it. Took some photos yesterday. Are you familiar with that flower? It’s said to spread & become invasive. Mine hasn’t done that…yet.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: