Written by Matthew Patterson, Visitor Services Associate
The name Pansy refers to a large group of hybrid plants cultivated as garden flowers. They are derived from Viola tricolor hybridized with other viola species. The Pansy flower is two to three inches in diameter and has two slightly overlapping upper petals, two side petals, and a single bottom petal with a slight beard emanating from the flower’s center. The flower has been produced in a wide range of colors and bi-colors. Pansies may grow to nine inches in height, and prefers sun to varying degrees and well-draining soils.
The name for this beloved flower is derived from the French, pensée (thought), and was bestowed upon the plant for its resemblance to a pensive human face. Fittingly it has appeared throughout history in the works of writers and artists including William Shakespeare, Georgia O’Keeffe, and even J.K. Rowling. This impressive lineage makes the Pansy an important addition to our gardens.