Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium
University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

Vascular Plants

Plants of Wisconsin

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  Prairie Folklore

by Wayne Pauly from Dane County Parks ACTION Adult Conservation Team Newsletter (All folklore stories)


Violets 

One spring, my daughter and I had a violet war, nonviolent.  It is an old school yard game, where each player gathers a bouquet of a dozen violets, and then issues a challenge.   A “knight” chooses a flower from the bouquet, grasps the end of the stem between their fingers like a miniature sword, and points the flower at their opponent who does likewise.  They reach towards each other and hook opposing flowers together by the spurs and jerk backwards.  Whoever’s flower is pulled off the stem loses the battle and must chose another flower from the bouquet and try again.  Whoever runs out of flowers first loses the war.  This was the original “flower power”. 

There is a king hidden in each of those blue (royal blue) woodland violets.   Pull off the four paired petals, and leave attached the single downward pointing petal.  Now hold the stem with the single petal pointing up, and by using a child’s imagination you’ll see a king.  He is seated on a throne with a royal blue backdrop, his head appears above the golden robe, and by looking very close, you can tell he has a cold---he is soaking his feet in a bucket of water (the nectary).

 

Vascular Plants

Plants of Wisconsin

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