Our weed of week blog posts are more like weed of the weekend lately. The original goal was to get them posted on Wednesdays.  The amended goal during this hectic spring planting season is to get them posted before the week ends.

This week’s “weed” is another herb that is sometimes sold at plant stores so you may not considered it to be a weed.  But, around here it grows like a weed, “jumping up” everywhere.

Heartsease (Viola tricolor) is commonly known as “Johnny Jump Up” or more accurately, “Johnny Jump Up and Kiss Me”, referring to its traditional use in love potions (Midsummer Night’s Dream.)  They’re also known as Wild Pansies.

Johnny-Jump-Up on a rainy day

Johnny-Jump-Up on a rainy day

Heartease and cousin, Sweet Violet (Viola odorata), are spring herbal treats.  Their happy little faces arrive early and withstand a little frost.  They grow in damp, rich soil in semi-shade to full sun.  The aerial parts are harvested while flowering, which they do all through the growing season.

Externally, Heartease has been used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions – diaper rash, insect bites, rashes and sores – and also internally for chronic skin disorders.  An infusion or tincture can be used to tone blood vessels and to stimulate circulation as well as treat lung and digestion disorders.  It is considered an expectorant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, anti-rheumatic and laxative.

Though Heartsease is mild enough to use the flowers in a spring salad, as always, be sure to check for warnings before using herbs in medicinal amounts.   Enjoying their dainty flowers and using them in a love/friendship bouquet requires no additional research 🙂