Pansy seedlings in a box Pansies came into my garden from the seeds I picked up years ago. I sowed the seeds and then planted the seedlings. They grew and bloomed, then grew leggy in the summer heat. Before I pulled them out, thousands of seeds had spread throughout the garden. Their seed pods burst when they dry out and they spread the seeds all over. When I want to pick up pansy seeds, I need to search the pods which were almost dry and haven't already opened. It was so funny when I first found out about how the pansy seed pods burst open! I had been picking up lots of seed pods from the park and put them on the dinning room table, in a small bowl. After a few days, I started to hear some noises while I was sitting in the living room, watching TV - something like opening a bottle of champagne, but not that loud. It took me a while to realize what was happening after I saw the pansy seeds spread all over my table. This is how the pansies have spread all over my garden too and now they're everywhere, popping out in spring and then growing from seeds again, during summer. Coming fall, I always have mature pansies blooming, without the least effort from my part. I only refreshen them with new color plants every spring.

Pansy blue flowerPansy white flowerPansy magenta flower

White and yellow pansiesMagenta pansiesWhite pansies

Wild pansies and cultivated pansies growing together

Blue wild pansy

Starting in June when it gets too hot, pansies grow leggy and their blooms become smaller, so I just pull them out and plant something else in their place. But some pansies have very tiny flowers, not like those affected by the heat. I had never seen such small pansy blooms until I moved into the countryside. I was confused and thought my pansies were confused too; perhaps they were degrading or something like that. Later I've found out that those were wild pansies, coming from the field nearby. They were the real "three-spotted brothers" (as they are named in Romania), called Viola tricolor or the wild pansy which is, in fact, a medicinal plant.

Pansies in my garden

Lots of wild pansies growing near a cultivated pansyViola tricolor is an annual European wild flower, which grows wild on the fields and wasteland. The plant grows about 15 inches high and it blooms from April to September. Its scented flowers are much smaller than those of the pansy we know from the park and from the nursery, about 0.5 inches. The flowers are colored in yellow with white in the middle, when growing in the plain, and more in purple-blue with yellow and white in the middle, when growing in the mountains. It is used as a tea herb for curing especially allergies, and for bronchitis, eczema and other skin disease. [1] I drink this tea when my allergies bother me, usually from May to August, and it really helps. Besides the Latin name, Viola tricolor also has many other funny names such as, Heartease, Jack-jump-up and kiss-me, Three faces in a hood or Love-in-idleness. The name "pansy" comes from the French "pensee" which means "thought". Ofelia's famous line, from Shakespeare's Hamlet - "There's pansies, that's for thoughts" - is reffering to viola's common name and its origin. Another sweet and brilliant refference to viola in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" provided another name for this plant, "love-in-idleness".[1]

White pansy

Spotted blue and yellow pansyWe have many myths and traditions related to the "three-spotted brothers" plant in Romania. One legend tells about three brave and handsom princes, who decided to fight a dragon who had been killing and scaring the people in their father's kingdom for many, many years. When they were about to kill him, the dragon put a curse on them, that they were going to have a huge sufference if they wouldn't have left him alive. The brave princes didn't listen to the dragon and killed him, but right after that, their beautiful faces became spotted with ugly hives. The three princes were then ashamed to show themselves to the world, so they started to pray to God to take away their sufference. God was touched by their prayers, so He turned them into a sweet, small and frail flower, who could cure all skin diseases. And its name was "three-spotted brothers".[2] Now that I've found out what treasure I have in my garden, I am going to pick up this plant and save it for tea starting this summer.

The information in this article is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute medical advice.

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viola_tricolor

[2] - http://www.formula-as.ro/2010/929/medicina-naturii-44/trei-frati-patati-12714