Violets (Viola sororia), Lehigh County, within the Pool Wildlife Sanctuar by Nicholas A TonelliPhoto by Nicholas A. Tonelli

Fast Facts

  • Proclaimed New Jersey’s state flower in 1971
  • Is also the state flower of Wisconsin, Illinois and Rhode Island
  • Botanical name: Viola sororia
  • Also known as common blue violet, hooded blue violet, sister violet and wooly blue violet.
  • Violet trivia: Legend has it that receiving violet plants as gifts is very auspicious.
  • New Jersey Flower Delivery

Prompted by garden clubs across the state, the New Jersey State Legislature in 1971 voted to name the common meadow violet as the New Jersey state flower. With the decision, the Garden State joined several other states in recognizing the violet as a prized plant. (Though New Jersey had enacted a similar law years earlier, the flower’s status had been contested and the new vote established its position once and for all.)

The common meadow violet is deemed the most common species of more than 400 species of violets. The perennial is commonly found growing in damp woods, roadsides and preserves. From March to June, the New Jersey state flower produces small flowers on separate, slender stalks. Common meadow violets range in color from white to blue to purple (violet). Its range in New Jersey extends from Paterson in the north of the state, to Atlantic City in the south. The violet also flowers in Newark and Jersey City, where it sometimes shows up as a weed in suburban lawns.

Viola sororia by DalgialPhoto by Dalgial

The common meadow violet has a relatively unique characteristic: after its showy flowers have bloomed, the plant produces a second set of blossoms. These small, closed flowers look like small buds and produce most of the violet’s seeds. The New Jersey state flower is not only attractive; it’s also an edible conversation piece. Cooks and bakers use the violet’s petals to adorn cakes and as ingredients in jellies and candies. Others sprinkle the violet’s flowers into salads as a natural source of vitamins A and C. In fact, by some claims, the New Jersey state flower has more Vitamin C than oranges do!


State of New Jersey

The Connecticut Botanical Society