Mystery Flora: Violaceous

That’s a word, folks. I like this word, “violaceous.” It sounds a bit like “bodacious,” which can either mean “bold and audacious” or a kind of iris. So with this word: it can mean “a violet color,” or violets.

In the spirit of a violet color, then, these little delights from near the Marys River in Oregon are violaceous.

Mystery Flower I

Mystery Flower I

One can also make an argument for “audacious,” considering how late in the season they were blooming.

A lot of plants around here are audacious. The abundance of water makes the buggers all sorts of bold. Bodacious they are – they’ll colonize just about anything. I’ve seen the most delicate-looking plants poking out of the most unlikely places.

Not that right alongside a river is an unlikely place. But vigorously blooming in October, that’s a little more on the bodacious side. I like the risk-takers at the beginning and end of the season. I’m hoping it wasn’t a more timid species deceived by the fine weather.

Mystery Flower II

Mystery Flower II

I didn’t try these, but they look vaguely like the flowers we used to pluck as kids and slurp sweet little slugs of nectar out of. It would pool at the base of the long flower. And it was extremely yummy. But these days, I have a horror of destroying flowers just to get a sip of nectar, and I don’t know if these were edible anyway. They might be. Many things up here are fairly kind.

Mystery Flower III

Mystery Flower III

There are many bodacious and violaceous flowers here in the Pacific Northwest. I hope to make the acquaintance of them all.

Mystery Flower IV

Mystery Flower IV


  1. Lofty says

    I suppose they’re the Last Supper for the bug population before winter. What flies around them? Something buzzy must pollinate them.

  2. machintelligence says

    Insect pollinated by the color, and something with a long proboscis, possibly a moth or butterfly? Did you spot any fluttering around?

    • rq says

      Probably moth, violet shades are more evening/nighttime insect attractors, although I wouldn’t rule out buttefly completely (but they do seem to prefer reds and oranges). If it’s the middle of the day, then moths are less likely to be fluttering around.
      And I think ants sometimes harvest from this type of plant, little ones. But I’m not sure about that.

  3. adrian says

    Yes probably a Verbena, valerian has smooth leaves and these look hairy.

    This entry is an interesting aside to Lofty’s comment;

    “Verbena has long been associated with divine and other supernatural forces. It was called “tears of Isis” in ancient Egypt, and later on “Juno’s tears”. In ancient Greece it was dedicated to Eos Erigineia. In the early Christian era, folk legend stated that V. officinalis was used to staunch Jesus’ wounds after his removal from the cross. It was consequently called “holy herb” or (e.g. in Wales) “Devil’s bane”.” via Wikipaedia

  4. says

    I was going to guess Phlox, but on second thought Nuytsia is probably right with Verbena.

    “Violaceous” sounds a bit too much like “violate” for me to be very enthusiastic about it.

    • says

      A Rocky and Bullwinkle feature, something like Poetry Corner, has Bullwinkle reciting a poem about how much he likes “violence”. And of course Boris questions him, do you like it because things blow up, etc., and at the end, the poor abused moose says, “No, I like them because they smell so good.”

    • Onamission5 says

      Oh and look! The Mary’s River Watershed Council appears to have this flower (or one like it) in their logo!