How 'bout something to brighten up your shady garden? Even when it's not showing off it's 1" brilliant yellow blooms, Viola hastata lights up the darkness with resplendent silvery mottling on its foliage. Sort of like snowflakes, each plant is slightly different.
Very east to grow in average soil, here is a plant that doesn't require much attention. And don't worry about it taking over your garden, Viola hastata is very well behaved, unlike some of its brethren.
The specific epithet hastata refers to the sword like shape of the leaves, which taper to a point and are wider at the bottom. If you've ever wondered about the scientific names used to describe the different shapes of leaves, you'll just love the chart of leaf shapes at: http://www.m-w.com/mw/art/leaf.htm
The common name, "Halberd Leaved Violet", comes from the resemblance to a "Halberd", which was a sword like weapon used ceremonially in ancient times. You can learn more at http://www.apva.org/ngex/c9halb.html
Propagation of Viola hastata is easiest by division of the small, brittle, creeping rhizome that kind of looks like bright white grub worms.
Taxonomic Hierarchy Kingdom - Plantae - Plants Subkingdom-Tracheobionta - Vascular plants Superdivision -Spermatophyta - Seed plants Division - Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants Class - Magnoliopsida - diocotyledons Subclass-Dilleniidae Order -Violales Family - Violaceae - Violets Genus - Viola Species -hastata Common name - genus - "Violets" Common name - species - "Halberdleaf Yellow Violet" Synonyms - none that I have found Native range - see - http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/plant_profile.cgi?symbol=VIHA2 USDA Hardiness Zone - zone 5, most likely 4, maybe 3 Light preference - Full shade to dappled sunlight Soil fertility preference - Average Soil moisture preference - Average to well drained Bloom time - Mid to late spring Bloom color - Bright Yellow Foliage - Medium green, silvery mottling patterns Spread - 4"-8" clump Height - 4" - 8" Landscape uses - Naturalizing in a shade or woodland garden Medicinal uses - none that I have found