Wild pansy, Viola

In olden times in Finland, wild pansies were called “orphan’s flowers” (orvon kukka). The present-day Finnish name of the wild pansy, orvokki, was introduced by the folklorist Elias Lönnrot. Lönnrot is more famous for compiling the Finnish national folk epic, The Kalevala.


Wild pansy flowers make beautiful garnishes for any meal. The sweetest-tasting wild pansies are those with a strong perfumed scent. The leaves of the wild pansy are also edible. There are hundreds of varieties of wild pansy, and although they vary in strength of fragrance and taste they are all edible.

Something to try

Use pansies in salads, or sprinkle them on Finnish fish and vegetables. They also make a beautiful and fragrant addition to desserts.

Gathering the plants

Pansies can be picked throughout the growing season, and they are suitable for freezing.

Other interesting facts

The petals of the wild pansy can be used to dye wool blue, and wild pansies can also be used to make green and pale yellow dyes.

More information: