Like the richest velvet
(I've heard the fairies tell)
Grow the handsome pansies
within the garden wall
When you praise their beauty,
Remember me as well
Think of little Heart's-ease,
the brother of them all!
Come away and seek me
when the year is young,
Through the open ploughlands
beyond the garden wall;
Many names are pretty
and many songs are sung:
Mine because I'm Heart's-ease are prettiest of all!
Botanical: Viola tricolor
Family: N.O. Violaceae
Other names for Heart's Ease include Wild Pansy. Call-me-to-you. Jack
jump-up-and-kiss-me. Meet-me-in-the-Entry. Kiss-her-in-the-Buttery. Three-Faces-under-a-Hood. Godfathers and Godmothers. Stepmother. Herb Trinitatis. Herb Constancy. Pink-eyed-John. Bouncing Bet. Flower o'luce. Bird's Eye. Bullweed.
The Heart's Ease, or Wild Pansy, very different in habit from any other kind of
Viola. Though found on banks and waste ground, it seems in an especial degree a weed of cultivation, found most freely in cornfields and garden ground. It blossoms almost throughout the entire floral season, expanding its attractive little flowers in the early days of summer and keeping up a succession of blossom until late in autumn.
The flower protects itself from rain and dew by drooping its head both at night and in wet weather, and thus the back of the flower and not its face receives the moisture.
The wild species is an annual, but from it the countless varieties of the perennial garden pansies, with blossoms of large size and singular beauty, are supposed to have originated.
The herb contains an active chemical principle, Violine (a substance similar to Emetin, having an emeto-cathartic action), mucilage, resin, sugar, salicylic acid and a bitter principle. When bruised, the plant, and especially the root, smells like peach kernels or prussic acid. The seeds are considered to have the same therapeutic activity as the leaves and flowers.
Medicinal Action and Uses - The Pansy has very similar properties to the Violet.
It was formerly known as a remedy for epilepsy, asthma and numerous other complaints, and the flowers were considered good
for diseases of the heart, from which may have arisen its popular name of
Heart's Ease as much as from belief in it as a love potion.