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Fast Fact: Common Blue Violets

Did you know Illinois has a state flower? In 1908, the common blue violet was designated the official state flower. You can find our state flower growing in many different habitats, including forests and open woodlands, prairies, savannas and wooded slopes near water. They prefer spots with partial sun or light shade, and they can even grow in lawns if they aren’t cut too short.

Purple common blue violet blooms on a background of grass and other green vegetation.
Common blue violets. (Photo by Anthony Schalk)

Common blue violets are named for their purplish-blue flowers, which bloom in spring and last into summer. The plants don’t get very tall, usually only about as high as your ankles. And while many wildflowers are abuzz with insects at this time of year, violets aren’t usually very popular with insects. Some bees and flies may visit, and other animals, including some birds and rodents, may eat the seeds and leaves. Illinois isn’t the only state to have declared its affection for the common blue violet by naming it the state flower. It is also the state flower of New Jersey, Rhode Island and neighboring Wisconsin.


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