Gerard's Herbal - Part 3
Fig. 1268. Kinds of Heartsease or Pansy (1-4)
1. The Heartsease or Pansy hath many round leaves at the first coming up; afterward they grow somewhat longer, slightly cut about the edges, trailing or creeping upon the ground. The stalks are weak and tender, whereupon do grow flowers in form and figure like the Violet, and for the most part of the same bigness, of three sundry colours; whereof it took the surname Tricolor, that is to say, purple, yellow, and white or blue: by reason of the beauty and bravery of which colours they are very pleasing to the eye, for scent they have little or none at all. The seed is contained in little knops, of the bigness of a tare, which come forth after the flowers be fallen, and do open of themselves when the seed is ripe. The root is nothing else but as it were a bundle of thready strings.
2. The upright Pansy bringeth forth long leaves deeply cut in the edges, sharp pointed, of a bleak or pale green colour, set upon slender upright stalks, cornered, jointed, or kneed, a foot high or higher; whereupon do grow very fair flowers of three colours, viz. of purple, blue, and yellow, in shape like the common Heartsease, but greater and fairer: which colours are so excellently and orderly placed, that they bring great delectation to the beholders, though they have little or no smell at all. For oftentimes it happeneth, that the uppermost flowers are differing from those that grow upon the middle of the plant, and those vary from the lowermost, as Nature list to dally with things of such beauty. The seed is like the precedent.
3. The wild Pansy differeth from that of the garden, in leaves, roots, and tender branches: the flowers of this wild one are of a bleak and pale colour, far inferior in beauty to that of the garden, wherein consisteth the difference.
4. Stony Heartsease is a base and low plant: the leaves are rounder, and not so much cut about the edges as the others: the branches are weak and feeble, trailing upon the ground: the flowers are likewise of three colours, that is to say, white, blue, and yellow, void of smell. The root perisheth when it hath perfected his seed.
5. There is found in sundry places of England a wild kind hereof, bringing flowers of a faint yellow colour, without mixture of any other colour, yet having a deeper yellow spot in the lowest leaf, with four or five blackish purple lines, wherein it differeth from the other wild kind: and this hath been taken of some young herbarists to be the yellow Violet.
The Heartsease groweth in fields in many places, and in gardens also, and that oftentimes of itself: it is more gallant and beautiful than any of the wild ones.
Matthiolus reporteth, that the upright Pansy is found on Mount Baldus in Italy. Lobel saith that it groweth in Languedoc in France, and on the tops of some hills in England; but as yet I have not seen the same.
Those with yellow flowers have been found by a village in Lancashire called Latham, four miles from Kirkham, by Mr. Thomas Hesketh before remembered.
They flower not only in the spring, but for the most part all summer through, even until autumn.
Heartsease is named in Latin Viola tricolor, or the three-coloured Violet; and of divers, Iacea; yet there is another Iacea surnamed Nigra: in English, Knapweed, Bull-weed, and Matfellon: of others, Herba trinitatis, or Herb Trinity, by reason of the triple colour of the flowers: of some others, Herba clavellata: in French, Pensees: by which name they became known to the Brabanters and others of the Low Countries that are next adjoining. It seemeth to be Viola flammea, which Theophrastus calleth Phloga which is also called Phlogios: in English, Heartsease, Pansies, Live-in-idleness, Cull-me-to-you, and Three-faces-in-a-hood.
The upright Pansy is called not unproperly Viola assurgens, or surrecta, and withal tricolor, that is to say, straight or upright Violet, three coloured: of some, Viola arborescens, or Tree Violet, for that in the multitude of branches and manner of growing it resembles a little tree.
It is of temperature obscurely cold, but more evidently moist, of a tough and slimy juice, like that of the Mallow, for which cause it moisteneth and suppleth, but not so much as the Mallow doth.
A. It is good, as the later physicians write, for such as are sick of an ague, especially children and infants, whose convulsions and fits of the falling sickness it is thought to cure.
B. It is commended against inflammations of the lungs and chest, and against scabs and itchings of the whole body, and healeth ulcers.
C. The distilled water of the herb or flowers given to drink for ten or more days together, three ounces in the morning, and the like quantity at night, doth wonderfully ease the pains of the French disease, and cureth the same, if the patient be caused to sweat sundry times, as Costĉus reporteth in his book De Natura Universalis Stirpis.