The common names "pansy" and "violet" are often used interchangeably. When a distinction is made, plants considered to be pansies have four petals pointing upwards, and only one pointing down. Violets have three petals pointing up and two pointing down. The name pansy is derived from the French word pensÃ©e "thought", and was imported into Late Middle English as a name of viola in the mid 15th century, as the flower was regarded as a symbol of remembrance. Modern horticulturalists tend to use the term "pansy" for those multi-colored large-flowered hybrids that are grown for bedding purposes every year, while "viola" is usually reserved for smaller, more delicate annuals and perennials.
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