Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Wild Violets

Carpet of violets

In the gardening world folks either love wild violets with a fierce devotion or hate them and their spreading ways with a passion. Me-I love their little cheerful faces so much that I don’t mind if they spread till they’re a purple carpet for me to walk about on.

In fact-in Granny’s yard that’s exactly what they’ve done. Spread until it’s like a real life violet vale.

When it comes to wild violets-there’s a long list. Just to name a few: the birds foot, the common blue, the marsh blue, the longspur, and the list goes on. In my world-the color of the flower is enough identification for me.

Around my house the most common are deep or light purple.

As you look around in the woods, you can find dainty little white ones-some have deep red/pink veins that look smudged around the edges-some have brown veins that look like they were drawn on with a fine tipped marker. The tiniest ones that grow along the creek bank are totally white with no markings at all.

Yellow violet

Deeper in the woods you’re likely to see this yellow beauty. With their longer stems and high leaves-these yellow violets always make me think of stately ladies watching over the area making sure all is in order.

No one left a comment about my fighting chickens with violets tease-so maybe no one ever played the game I did as a kid.

I can’t remember who showed me how to play-maybe an older cousin-maybe an Uncle-maybe even my Mamaw. I do remember exactly where they showed me. We were on a little bank that ran near the bottom of Pap and Granny’s driveway-the bank isn’t there now-bulldozed away as driveways were needed for new houses.

Look at the photo above-does the violet make you think of a Rooster? See the furry comb like things in the center of the flower-see it’s head?

My life in appalachia - Rooster Fighting With Violets

It only takes 2 people to fight chickens with violets-each person picks their rooster. Then you link/cross them over each other and pull.

The toughest Rooster wins-when the looser looses his head in the fight. I’ll leave you with 2 questions: 1. Are you a violet lover or hater? 2. Did you ever fight violet Roosters when you were a kid?

Next up-Violets are edible-and are used in a variety of old medicinal remedies.



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  • Reply
    April 15, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Of course I played Fighting Roosters! My mom taught me to play in KY, there was nothing else to do on my grandparents tobacco farm. I in turn taught all my children and grandchildren who are 6, 10, 11 and 12. Hopefully one day they will teach their children. I, like you, don’t care where they grow, I love them. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Connie K.
    June 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Just found this site today. Yes, I still enjoy playing fighting roosters, and I am 58 years old. I think my grandmother taught me how to play the game. I recently taught my granddaughter and son-in-law. I grew up in east TN and now live in central KS. Violets are everywhere! I also enjoy popping morning glory flowers. Thanks for keeping these precious things going.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    I am so happy to learn the benefits of wild violets. My husband was going to pull them. I told him they’re too pretty, and he let them live. I use them as garden ground cover, and I recently learned from TV that they are edible. As I researched violets, I found your lovely blog site.
    I won’t starve now while I’m looking for a job…LOL!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Christina-thanks for the comment! I’m not sure how well violets would do in a dry area-hopefully another reader will chime in with an answer!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    September 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Do you know how well violets soak up water? As in a rain garden in a dry area except really heavy rains?

  • Reply
    Windy Gottfried
    May 21, 2012 at 10:46 am

    When walking through natural areas in the neighborhood I have seen many tiny little violets, very low and small, with a smaller, paler violet flower with no fragrance. Is there any appropriate application in the garden for these, they are almost obscure.

  • Reply
    Windy Gottfried
    May 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I have had the purple violets from my mother, and passed them around to all my sisters and grown them with great success for the last 15 years. Unfortunately deer have discovered them this year and obliterated my largest patch.
    But I have had this problem historically…. they do have the lowest, colorless interior violets that supposedly carry the seed, but all but a couple of years all my regular blossoms are below the leaf canopy, many there, but just not rising above the leaves. The other issue is an observation, they have never once seemed to spread by seed to start new plants, patches just expand by the rhizome/root. And I have them in many locations, two in the ground stuck around the garden, some in pots. But I have never found one plant not connected to the mother plant. Any similar experieces? They look exactly like the deep purple blue ones in the article.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    M.E.-no I haven’t seen that violet-but I’ll be on the look out for it now.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    May 15, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Have you ever seen the speckled violet that was crossed between the purple and the white? It has the white background with tiny purple specks.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I can see the rooster!!! I’ve never looked at them that way before. I’ll be showing that to the little ones around here.
    I thought “violets” were only purple, because of the name. I had no idea there were white and yellow ones too. I’ll be on the lookout for those too.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Oh-my-gosh, how I love violets. We had to transplant some to our yard just so we could begin a patch (or a yard-full) of violets. None were here when we moved. I noticed this morning that we have tiny sprouts all around where the violets are growing and I’m wondering if (hoping that) they are violet babies. It’s too bad I have to wait so long to find out because by the time they get big enough to know, if they’re not violets, they’ll be full-fledged weeds with deep roots. And they’re between the flagstones that make our sidewalk. I’d rather not have violets growing between. I’ll know in a few weeks, I guess. Maybe I should just transplant them now…. Thanks for the great post. No, I’d never heard about playing roosters with violets. I sort of think it’s a shame to destroy their beauty that way….

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    April 19, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I’d be thrilled if wild violets grew on my property, but none to be seen. The only wild things seem to be tumbleweeds. 🙂

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    April 19, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Tipper: You inspired part of yesterdays post.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 19, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I love those little spring violets. I’ve been admiring them as I take my daily walks. I’ve seen many color variations but have never seen the yellow ones. Guess I’m not deep enough in the woods.
    I don’t have any around my house and have been wondering if I could transplant some and get them to grow.
    Spring is just full of wonderful surprises!!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    I think right when I hit the publish comment button the Internet died, so if you didn’t get my comment a shorter version of it is, I like violets and I I’ve never played the game in question!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I love the violets! Ours are just starting to bloom here. I love to find the yellow ones down by the creek, but the purple are much more prevelent here.
    I’ve never heard of the violet-rooster game~thanks for sharing! It’s probably a very old game and I love learning about the past.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    What a lovely post. I love violets. They remind me of my grandma because they were a favorite if hers. I’ve never seen them growing wild though.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I would be a violet lover, especially if they would just come here and spread out like a violet vale for me to walk in, or even better, lay down and take a nap in a bed of violet.
    And when I stirred from my nap, I would wake to find a group of little girls playing Fightin’ Chickens and I would watch and then I would notice that they need one more person in their group so everyone could play at a time and so I would call one of the little girls over and we would begin to play and then the whole group would be laughing and rolling around in the bed of violet as we would put together a Fightin’ Chickens tournament.
    So now I must ask, what do violet like to grow in? I have many places that in my mind should be full of something like violets. Its like the lawn daisies of my childhood that covered on of the ball fields in the neighborhood park, I loved walking in that secluded field, it was like a hidden meadow in the forest if you purposed to not notice the backstop. In that meadow I would sit forever and braid daisies. Unfortunately I have been unable to recreate the same here at the farm. So that is a goal I have, meadows of daisies and vales of violets.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Checking in as a violet lover! They are so pretty and cheery. Nope, have never had a violet rooster fight but I feel one coming on…

  • Reply
    April 18, 2010 at 11:45 am

    B. Ruth-I do not remember making grasshoper nests. I do remember catching them and letting them spit ‘tobacco juice’ on my fingers : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    April 18, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I love violets….and have them growing around a big maple in my yard…purple and white and also solid purple…Did this when we realized nothing else could survive the thick roots around the tree…Put a big circle of river rock filled it with a little soil and let’um go….Beautiful glossy green leaves in the summer…thick as hops…have to pull the escapees occasionally but well worth it to us….
    Can’t remember the chicken fighting thing with violets..I treasured finding them and their beauty so much when I was a child, still do…..but we did used to sit in white clover and pull clover heads off in twisting popping motion, similar way…while we were looking for four leafs…
    Did you ever make a grasshopper nest..with plantin stems…?

  • Reply
    Rhonda Haslam
    April 18, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Always a sign of spring — used to braid them and make bracelets, necklaces, and crowns.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2010 at 7:02 am

    I Loveee …. wild violets , made jelly with them last week. They’re beautiful and so useful!
    I’ve never played violet rooster though.
    ~ Violet Blessings ~

  • Reply
    April 17, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Love! violets! I have never heard of violet roosters. Fun

  • Reply
    April 17, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Your beautiful pictures of the violets reminds me of picking them on a certain hillside on our farm when we were little. They were dainty and fragile, but my sister and I would pick them and take them home to Mother who seemed so happy to have them. She put then in a tiny glass bottle on her kitchen windowsill.
    I love the few that bloom in my yard and I, too, wish I could have a bed of them, thick and velvety. Thanks for the memory, Tipper.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Hi Tipper, I love wild violets.. I have some in my yard—and they do spread. I have the basic purple ones. I didn’t know there were so many varieties…I love them…
    I’ve never heard of that game…. Sounds fun!!!!!
    Have a great Sunday… We have a frost advisory out here tonight. We brought all of our potted plants back into the garage…. Gads!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I love them, too. And I love the way they are not offended by lawn mowers but reappear in a day or so. Intrepid and strong.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    April 17, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    I love violets so much I brought some to the north side of my house last year and planted them; they are blooming happily. I can’t imagine someone not liking them. I also brought up some other woodland plants, including a mayapple. I still don’t have a jack-in-the-pulpit, but I intend to transplant one before long. I call it my wildwood flower garden.

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    April 17, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    defnitly love them! Never heard of the rooster thing.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I love violets. They are welcome to grow where they like – out in the woods, in the lawn or in my garden. I have several different kinds and I love them all. They are also the host plant for some varieties of Fritillary Butterflies.

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    April 17, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I love wild violets and always feel guilty when I pull them out of my yard. I have considered creating a place where they can spread out without being in the way.
    And I have never heard of fighting with a violet. That is a new one on me.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    April 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I do love the deep purple violets that are most prevalent around my house, and the others that are in the woods. I’ve never heard of the fighting game though. Dandy lions … now that’s a different thing. Those I can definitely do without, although my sister (in-law) in OH called last night to say she’d made a mess of dandy lion gravy and it was very tasty. That was new to me, but upon questioning my hubby this morning he said he had that at home when he was young but had totally forgotten about it.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I love violets, I pick them and put them in small vases. We have lots in our yard,too. I think I remember doing that with violets, but don’t remember it being called fighting chickens.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull WIke, Ph.D.
    April 17, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    To be perfectly honest, I love my white Violets in my RABBIT GARDEN. They are the type (TALLEST VIOLETS) that grow in the Great Smoky Mountains! I detest the violets that grow in my yard – as well as the dandy lions! Did you know if the pH of your soil is ‘correct’ for grass, the WEEDS will not grow in your grass? I was made aware of that last year but have not had my lawn soil tested!! Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 17, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Love the Violets, we don’t have so many here can’t wait to get there and hopefully see them all. Never heard of the game, but it sounds like it would keep the kids busy.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2010 at 11:33 am

    i am a violet lover, can’t grow them in my kitchen window, they DIE. I love all flowers that grow wild in the woods and fields. I have never done the rooster thing. beautiful photos

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    April 17, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Tipper: I love to see the wild violet and just saw some on a walk a few days ago. I never heard of the fighting game. I used to pick violets for my mother when I was a kid.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Never fought rooster-violets. LOVE a yard filled with purple violets and bright yellow dandelions, just like my mammaw’s was. My daddy made a point to learn to eat dandy-lions, but never perfected the art of making them taste all that great. I remember him frying them like morels and also sprinkling the yellow petals in whatever struck his fancy. But I was a teenager at the time and thought he was plum off his rocker. LOL!
    ~ t.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Yes to question 1 and No to question 2.
    Purple just happens to be my favorite color.

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