"The violets whisper from the shade which their own leaves have made, 'Men scent our fragrance from the air, yet take no heed of humble lessons we would read.' "  -- Christina G. Rossetti


"I'm big kid now!"

Most members of the Kingdom Plantae are autotrophic, sustaining themselves by producing their organic molecules from carbon dioxide and other inorganic raw materials from the environment. Believe it or not, the process by which Viola sororia gains its energy and nutrients is one that the entire living world directly or indirectly depends on! This process is known as photosynthesis. Photosynthesis converts light energy into chemical energy stored in sugar and other organic molecules. It requires carbon dioxide and water in the presence of light to produce sugars and oxygen.

The sites of photosynthesis in plants are organelles called chloroplasts found in all green parts of most plants but mainly in the leaves. The color is due to the green pigment chlorophyll, which is located in the chloroplasts and absorbs energy from sunlight.

Carbon dioxide enters the leaf and oxygen exits via stomata, which are microscopic pores that open and close in response to light. In the presence of light, the guard cells that surround the pores to form the stoma will open, allowing carbon dioxide into the leaves. Water is absorbed by the roots and delivered to the leaves via vascular tissue known as xylem. The end products are sugar (usually in the form of glucose) and oxygen. The sugar is then transported throughout the plant from  areas where the level of sugar is high (sources) to areas where the level of sugar is low (sinks). This is done via pressure in the vascular tissue called phloem.

The roots play an essential role in absorption of mineral and water into the plant. It also stores carbohydrates and anchors the plant to grow taller. The root system of Viola sororia consists of a thick, horizontally branched rhizome that grows just below the surface of the soil. Vertical shoots emerge from axillary buds in the rhizome.


The stem is important in the transportation of minerals and water between the roots and the leaves and other flower parts. As mentioned before, the leaves play a huge role in photosynthesis and gas exchange. Check out the Reproductions page to see what is the start of all of these complex structure!