February’s birth flower, the stunning violet, is known for its breathtaking beauty and vibrant colors. This flower is easily identified by its purple heart-shaped leaves and fan-like petals. The shape and placement of the petals are dependent on the species.
Today there are almost 500 species of violets that belong to the genus Viola and are most commonly found in the Northern Hemisphere. This popular flower has gained so much recognition for its beauty and symbolism it’s become the official flower of four states: Rhode Island, Illinois, Wisconsin, and New Jersey.
Violets in History
Violets date all the way back to 500 BC where they were first cultivated by the Greeks and Romans. They believed that this February flower was useful in herbal remedies to fight different illnesses and sicknesses. The flowers were also used to make wine and sweeten foods — they even used it as an ingredient in love potions!
Fast forward to 1814 where notorious French military man and emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, used the blooms to cover his wife Josephine’s grave. Shortly after, he declared the violet his signature flower and earned himself the nickname “Corporal Violet”. Perhaps this is the reason why violets represent February, the month of love and romance.
Colors and Symbolism
As the name suggests, violets can be found in a deep purple or blue-purple color but it’s also common to spot these flowers in shades of blue, yellow, and cream.
Violet colors each have their own unique meaning, which can be seen below:
Blue violets represent: Faithfulness and love
White violets represent: Chastity and purity
Yellow violets represent: Worthiness
As a symbol of remembrance, early Romans carried violets at funerals.
Violets also symbolize modesty, innocence, nobility, inspiration, dignity, protection, spirituality and abundance.
Violets are most commonly associated with love due to their amorous associations. It’s even become a tradition in many cultures to mark the place where a true love died with a violet flower.
In Christianity, violets are symbolic of both Jesus and the modesty of the Virgin Mary.
With Valentine’s Day conveniently being in February, it’s no wonder that a symbol of love and devotion like the violet is the official birth flower for this month.
Fun Facts about Violets
This stunning flower is commonly found all over the world, making it one of the most popular blooms to this day. Due to its fame, it has become widely used in many households, cultures, and traditions.
There are approximately 500 species of violets all over the world. The most common species of violet found in the U.S is the blue violet or Viola sororia.
Violets are known for being hardy with a scale between 3 and 9 and can adapt to almost any environment or climate.
Violets are edible for humans and pets, making it a low-maintenance plant.
You can find these purple flowers in all sorts of savory dishes such as salads and soups.
They’re also used as a garnish on cakes, pastries, and chocolates since they’re edible.
You can find high amounts of vitamin C in the petals and stems of violets — more so than in most vegetables. To put it in context, 1/2 cup of violets has the same amount of Vitamin C as 3 oranges!
Violets are known for their elusive smell that goes away after just one sniff. The lovely scent disappears due to a chemical called ionine which desensitizes your sense of smell temporarily.
The name Violet is near the top of the charts as a girl name, coming from the Latin origin meaning “purple”.
Illinois was the first of 4 states to adopt the violet as the state flower, officially designating it in 1908.
Personality Traits Linked to the February Birth Flower
Although the violet flower has many different meanings, you might wonder what your birth flower says about your personality. Generally speaking, the February birth flower is associated with the following traits:
Honest: You pride yourself on being honest and up-front in difficult situations, and choose to not withhold any secrets or information from loved ones. Your undeniable trustworthiness goes unnoticed and makes you a noble and loyal friend.
Humble: Treating people with kindness and respect is always a priority and thinking about others is extremely important. You never fail to share your gratitude and are quick to forgive.
Wise: You have the patience and control to learn from important life lessons and are disciplined in many aspects of your life. You admit to your mistakes and learn from them, which is a trait that many people admire about you.
Other February Birth Flowers
The violet isn’t the only official flower of February — there’s actually another colorful bloom that shares the title!
Is the February Birth Flower Iris or Violet?
February actually has two official birth flowers: the violet and iris. The violet symbolizes true love and abundance while the iris is the symbolic flower of the Greek goddess Iris who was also the messenger of love.
Iris vs. Violet
Both flowers carry messages of love and fertility, making them natural choices to represent February. However, they do have their differences, from appearance to historical origins.
Iris: The Iris is a uniquely-shaped flower that has three outer hanging petals and three inner upright petals. They are grown in many colors, including blue and purple, white and yellow, pink and orange, brown and red, and even black. Traditionally, irises symbolize eloquence, faith, wisdom and hope, much as February carries with it the promise that spring will soon return.
The iris has been a treasured flower since ancient times, often appearing in Egyptian works of art dating as far back as the 28th Egyptian Dynasty around 400 BC. In fact, a flower carved into the Sphinx of Giza in Egypt is believed to be an iris.
Violet: While irises have hanging petals, violets have fan-shaped petals with heart-like leaves. They do not come in a wide variety of colors and are most commonly grown in a blue-purple shade. Violets symbolize true love, innocence, abundance and modesty and trace all the way back to 500 BC in Greece where they became an essential ingredient in everyday living.
In addition to the February birth flower, your birthstone also has a great deal of symbolism attached to it.
The February birthstone, amethyst, is a purple quartz that is said to strengthen relationships and give its wearer clarity, courage, and awareness. The Ancient Greek name was derived from the word amethystos, which means “not intoxicated”. This gemstone was said to protect wearers from drunkenness and ward off Dionysus, the god of intoxication.
During the Middle Ages, the amethyst was a rare beauty. Purple was seen as a regal color, so amethysts were often worn by the English aristocracy to symbolize their high standing. However, despite its history of being an exclusive treasure, today this eye-catching gemstone can be found all over the world and seen in many types of jewelry.
With its heart-shaped leaves and delicate petals, a colorful bouquet of violet flowers is guaranteed to please almost anyone celebrating Valentine’s Day and would make a perfect choice for a February birthday bouquet.