Scientific name: Viola sororia
In searching for more information about this beautiful native plant, I found a lot of false information. Multiple websites call it “invasive”. People tend to falsely label plants as “invasive” because they don’t understand how it is used with respect to plant/animal life. By definition, an invasive plant or animal is one that is also non-native, and prolifically takes over an area, crowding out native plants/animals that cannot compete. I think most websites and people use the word “invasive” when really, they mean “aggressive”. Yes, this plant is an aggressive spreader. In fact, it is so aggressive, it can compete successfully with invasive species of lawn grass (grass that is most commonly used to crowd out native plants, so that Americans can have their “perfect” lawn).
This plant is also edible by both us humans and other animals (including deer). I have found sites that declare this plant to be “deer resistant” of which it is absolutely not! In my experience, I’ve cultivated big beautiful patches of this delicate and vibrant little flower, only to see it mowed down by deer, time, and time again. However, even with the most desperate of passing deer (of which we have many), this plant happily grows right back.
This plant mostly prefers wetter locations. They will grow in dry ones, and I found that they grow best where there is some protection from sun (part shade). But they tend not to grow well in full shade.