You are here

Viola tricolor - Johnny-Jump-Up or Heartsease


Common Name: Johnny-Jump-Up, Heartsease, Wild Pansy, Ladies' Delight, Jump-Up-And-Kiss-Me[1]

Scientific Name: Viola tricolor

Jefferson recorded sowing seeds of "Tricolor" at Shadwell, his boyhood home, on April 2, 1767.[2] It was grown in American gardens before 1700, although the first documented citation known is by John Lawson in History of Carolina (1718).[3] Native over large areas of Europe and western Asia, this ancestor of our modern pansy has many common names, including wild pansy, ladies' delight, and jump-up-and-kiss-me. The name "pansy" derives from the French word pensée, an analogy used by Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet: "and there is pansies, that's for thoughts."[4] Darker forms, including types with nearly black petals, such as -€˜Black Violet' and -€˜Bowle's Black', were selected by the late 19th century.

It is a hardy, spring-flowering perennial grown as an annual with charming, pansy-like flowers showing three colors in shades of purple, yellow, and white.


  1. This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.
  2. Betts, Garden Book, 4. Manuscript and transcription at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
  3. Denise Wiles Adams, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940 (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004), 232.
  4. Act IV, Scene V.

Further Sources


Login or register to participate in our online community.