Botanical Name

Violet viola

Year Adopted

1908

Peak Bloom

April to August

History

The violet was selected after a 1907 vote taken among Illinois schoolchildren for their favorite flower.

Fun Fact

When smelling a violet, one whiff is all you get. Its scent contains ionone, a chemical that temporarily desensitizes the nose.

Illinois state flower - The Violet

Violets grow in an abundance across Illinois, making them a clear choice for the state flower. The most recognizable and widespread of the native Violets in Illinois is the Dooryard Violet, as it is easy to grow anywhere, in full sunlight or in shade. Most of the 400 to 500 species of Wildflower Violets found around the world prefer moist, shaded areas, often growing beneath hedges where they are protected.

The Dooryard Violet is one of the more interesting Violets as it does something quite unusual in the world of plants: it produces two different types of flowers at two different times of year. In spring these Violets produce the large recognizable flowers you always see in photos and wildflower guidebooks. After these have bloomed, the Violet produces small, closed flowers that look more like buds, closer to the ground on shorter stems. These flowers produce most of the Violet plant’s seeds.

The long flowering season add to the Violet’s popularity. Its flowers can be seen throughout Illinois almost all spring and summer long. It is also hugely popular with many varieties of insects that thrive on the nutritious flowers and leaves of the Illinois state flower.

You can find Violets that are purple (like the violet color the flower is named for) and in many other shades such as light blue, yellow, white, cream and in two-tones varieties as well. In many parts of the country, Violets are called pansies. But in Illinois, of course, a Violet is a Violet.

Growing Information

Soil

Well-drained

Sun

Full Sun/Partial Shade

Zones

3 - 9