Viola tricolor, varyingly known as heart’s ease, heart’s delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, or love-in-idleness, is a common European wild flower, growing as an annual or short-lived perennial.
It is the progenitor of the cultivated pansy, and is therefore sometimes called wild pansy; before the cultivated pansies were developed, “pansy” was an alternative name for the wild form.
Long before cultivated pansies were released into the trade in 1839, V. tricolor was associated with thought in the “language of flowers”, often by its alternative name of pansy (from the French “pensée” – thought) hence Ophelia’s often quoted line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “There’s pansies, that’s for thoughts”. What Shakespeare had in mind was V. tricolor, not a modern garden pansy.
V. Tricolor has medicinal properties and could be used in cancer cure too as reported in various journals. These flowers contain antioxidants and are edible.