Purple things: Welcome to our visual list of things that are purple.
The color purple is everywhere in nature. It may not be as omnipresent as green or yellow or red, but if you stop to look around, you’ll see little dashes of this color wherever you go.
Depending on where you live, you’re most likely to see purple in flowers and birds. However, there are some rarer and more uncommon sources of this color waiting to be found in the world outside your door. All it takes is just a little bit of extra time and effort to seek out the unusual and see some of these other phenomena for yourself.
Read on to check out our list of purple things found in nature that are bursting with the color. It may not contain every single purple item, but it can help get you started on your own list of colors in the world around you. At the very least, it will help open your eyes to the bounty of color and splendor that exists in the natural world and is easy to find with even the slightest bit of effort.
List of Things That Are Purple
Here’s our extensive list of things that are purple in nature:
1. Acai Berries
The nutrient-rich berries of the acai palm grow in bunches of anywhere between five hundred and nine hundred individual berries. The outer skin is a deep, dark purple, but the majority of the fruit is made up by the hard seed that hides in the middle of each berry.
2. Agapanthus Blossoms
Sometimes known as “lilies of the Nile”, agapanthuses are medium-sized flowering plants with long, thin leaves and small flowers that grow in a bunch at the end of a long stem. The flowers themselves are usually a pale purple with white accents that look almost blue in the right lighting.
The name “amethyst” comes from the ancient Greek for “not intoxicated”, based on the ancient belief that these purple semiprecious stones could protect their bearers from getting drunk. During the middle ages, soldiers believed that amethysts would help them keep calm during battle and heal their wounds after fighting stopped.
Anemones are part of the buttercup family and are often referred to as “windflowers” due to the fact that the flower’s petals easily scatter on the wind. They can come in white or red, but their blossoms are most commonly seen with a soft, purplish-blue hue to their petals.
Artichokes are actually a type of thistle, which means that it should come as no surprise that this plant produces bright purple blossoms. The bristly flower grows up to six inches in diameter, and the mass of unfurled florets at the center make up what we know as the “heart”.
Often considered one of the most expensive vegetables in any kitchen, asparagus is actually a type of flowering plant, although we mostly use its shoots before they get the chance to blossom. The ancient Romans believed that the pale purple or lavender varieties were especially powerful as a medical supplement.
Asters are small, star-shaped flowers that are found throughout Europe and Asia. They’re especially popular with butterflies, but they’re even more popular with the larval forms of many different species of butterfly. As a result, these small, cheerful purple-blue flowers are a great way to attract some colorful creatures.
If you live in the US and Canada, you’re probably more used to hearing them called “beets”, but the root part of the beet plant is the specific portion we’re talking about in this entry. The bright reddish-purple color of these vegetables have made them an invaluable ingredient in dyes and food coloring for years.
9. Bell Heather Blossoms
Found throughout western and central Europe, the bell heather shrub produces very small purplish flowers that look like tiny bells. Occasionally, these flowers will be white, but purple is by far the more common color seen during the mid or late summer in Europe.
10. Bellflower Blossoms
The name “bellflower” can actually refer to any number of different plants, as more than five hundred different species are lumped together under that name. Typically, however, these flowers will have bell-shaped blossoms, as the name would imply, and are found with a soft purple hue that borders on blue.
11. Betta Fish
Often referred to as “Siamese fighting fish”, the animals we call betta fish are actually one of seventy-three different species in the Betta family. They’re known for their elaborate fins and ornate colors (including bright purple) and were first domesticated by humans as early as a thousand years ago.
12. Black Currants
Black currants may look black at first glance, but a closer inspection will reveal that these glossy berries are actually a deep, rich purple in color. They’re extremely high in vitamin C, and they can be eaten raw, but they’re usually used to make syrups, alcoholic beverages, jams, and preserves.
13. Black Rice
In ancient China, black rice was often referred to as “Forbidden Rice”, since only those who were extremely wealthy or powerful could actually buy it. It looks black when it’s dried, but each grain turns a deep purple color after it’s been fully cooked and is ready to eat.
Like black currants, blackberries are another berry that’s dark enough to pass for black unless you’re really paying attention to its purple undertones. When crushed or juiced, however, blackberries produce a bright reddish-purple juice that’s tart, sweet, and serves as a perfect reminder that summer has finally rolled around again.
15. Black Cap Basslets
The black cap basslet is a small fish that grows to be about four inches on average. It has a bright purple, almost magenta body with a black cap or stripe that runs from its lip to its dorsal fin. It’s an extremely peaceful fish and likes to keep to itself whenever possible.
Despite their name, blueberries are actually closer to purple. Wild blueberries are called “lowbush” berries, while cultivated berries are often considered “highbush” berries. Both varieties are native to North America, but Canada produces most of the world’s lowbush blueberries, while the United States produces most of the highbush berries.
This entry may not be as fun as some of the others on this list, but if you’ve ever banged your shin against the coffee table, tripped and bruised your knee, or smashed your finger with a hammer, you know all too well the color that bruises often take. The color is the result of bleeding that occurs just below the skin.
18. Butterfly Bushes
While they’re named for their ability to attract butterflies and other nectar-eating creatures, butterfly bushes used to be known as “bombsite plants” in the UK during WWII, as they would often grow in the bombed-out remains of factory sites or other targets.
19. Ornamental Cabbages
The cabbages we eat are usually a bright yellowish green, but ornamental cabbages are usually grown for their purple, dark brown, or reddish leaves. The leaf part of these cabbages is still edible, but their ornate leaves and striking colors make them a great fit for any outdoor decoration or exterior landscaping needs.
20. Canterbury Bells
Part of the bellflower family, the Canterbury bell blossom has pale, purplish-blue bell-shaped blossoms that can actually fertilize themselves, which means that they’re not nearly as dependent on bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to be able to bloom and grow. Nectar from these flowers produces an extremely sweet strain of honey.
It’s actually impossible for carnations to produce the pigment that most flowers use to create blue petals, which means that, for the longest time, purple or blue carnations were simply not available. In 1996, however, a flower company spliced genes from petunias and snapdragons into a carnation plant to create the blue-purple flower.
Anthocyanins, the same pigments that are found in red grapes (and by extension, red wine), are responsible for turning typically white or green cauliflower plants purple. The end result is a vividly purple “head” that still tastes pretty much exactly the same as regularly colored cauliflower does.
Depending on how you look at things, cherries can be either red or purple, but the juice of pressed cherries is undeniably purple in hue. In addition to the juice, some strains of cherries automatically grow a little bit darker than their more well-known relatives, taking on a reddish-purple tone.
24. Clematis Blossoms
The clematis plant is a climbing vine that is found in parts of Europe and Asia, although it was particularly cultivated and developed by the Japanese during the Edo period. While Spanish colonizers often encouraged each other to use it as a substitute for pepper, it’s actually extremely toxic.
25. Columbine Flowers
The columbine flower is the state flower of Colorado. It’s known for the spurred petals of its flowers, which means that each pale purple flower has several distinct or deliberate segments that jut out and grow away from the flower itself so that they stick out at odd angles.
26. Coneflower Blossoms
Coneflowers are actually a group of different flowers that take their name from the slightly raised central disk that often looks like a small, rounded cone. Despite growing in different places around the world, most coneflowers come in a soft purplish color that unites them across the species.
Coral colonies come in a wide range of colors, so it’s not too difficult to believe that purple is just one of those many hues. They actually derive their color from the single-celled invertebrates that live inside of the coral colonies and provide a major source of energy.
28. Crocus Blossoms
Crocuses are part of the iris family, native to a wide range of habitats from alpine tundras to woodland meadows and sea level scrub. These bluish-purple flowers take their name from the Sanskrit word for “saffron”, a spice that’s produced from the dried and processed flowers.
29. Delphinium Blossoms
Delphiniums are beautiful flowers with soft bluish-purple petals, but don’t let appearances fool you. Every member of the Delphinium genus are toxic to humans and animals alike. They take their name from the ancient Greek word for “dolphin”, as the Greeks thought their blossoms closely resembled the playful marine mammals.
Since 1963, the English-speaking world has called these spiky, scaly, reddish-purple fruits “dragon fruits” as a nod to their appearance, but they’re mostly called pitaya or pitahaya fruits by the indigenous Americans. The insides of these fruits come with creamy or purple/pinkish flesh with several small black seeds speckled heavily throughout.
Eggplants, or aubergines in Europe, are part of the nightshade family. They’re actually one of the few nightshade plants to originate in Europe, as tomatoes, chili peppers, and potatoes all originate in the Americas. The deep reddish-purple skin of these fruits makes them a striking choice for nearly any dish.
Elderberries can be mistaken for blackberries or blueberries if you’re not paying attention, but the intense purplish blue-black color of these berries is a little more dangerous than its friendlier relatives. Elderberries have to be cooked before they’re eaten, as the uncooked berries and leaves of the elderberry plant is highly poisonous.
33. Elegant Firefish
The elegant firefish likes to live both in the sandy patches and rubble at the bottom of coral reefs as well as in the deep outer reef dropoffs among the strong ocean currents. These small, yellow, red, and purple fish are monogamous and will stick with one mate all their lives.
They’re known around the world for their distinctive fruits, but fig trees are actually part of the mulberry family. While the outside of the fig fruit is usually a pale spring green, the inside is a bright reddish-purple, and dried figs often take on a dark brown-purple hue.
35. Foxglove Blossoms
Foxgloves, also known as “finger glove” or “witch’s glove” flowers, are cheerful purple flowers with bell or thimble-shaped blossoms. The “witch’s glove” name alludes to the high toxicity of the flowers – especially when brewed in a tea – as does the more ominous name of “dead man’s bells”.
36. Fuchsia Blossoms
Fuchsia plants are a family of flowering plants that grow pinkish-purple blossoms and red-green, red, or purple berries. While most of the fruits of this plant are flavorless or even unpleasant, the fruit of F. splendens is said to taste like a refreshing mix of citrus and black pepper.
The bulb of the garlic plant may be brown or white or even red, but the flowers that grow above the bulb often have a soft pink or pale purple cast to their petals. In addition, some garlic bulbs will retain a light purple tinge to the paper around the cloves.
Popular with humans and butterflies alike, geraniums are easy to spot by looking for the distinctive “veiny” pattern that runs along their petals. Able to grow well in just about any soil, geraniums typically come in shades of white, pink, purple, or even a pale, purple-tinged blue color.
No list of purple objects would be complete without grapes. While they are available in green or “white” varieties, red grapes are far and away the most well-used strain of grapes. Without these deep reddish-purple or blue-black fruits, we wouldn’t be able to make wine, jam, grape juice, jelly, raisins, or vinegar.
40. Hellebore Blossoms
Yet another poisonous purple flower, hellebore blossoms take their name from the ancient Greek words meaning “food” and “to injure” – a particularly unsubtle nod to the fact that these sweet-looking, pink or purple blooms can be fatal. In Greek mythology, Hercules was driven mad by the gods and only cured by drinking hellebore blossoms.
41. Hollyhock Blossoms
Native to Asia and Europe, hollyhock flowers are popular garden plants that come in red, white, pink, purple, and a shade of purple so dark that it’s nearly black. In the Victorian era, hollyhock blossoms were a symbol of both ambition and fruitfulness.
42. Hyacinth Blossoms
The most common hyacinth, often known as the “garden hyacinth” or the “Dutch hyacinth”, grows exceptionally fragrant flowers. The blossoms themselves look like tiny trumpets or narrow bells and usually grow in a pale blue or light purple color that stands out against the yellowish green of their leaves.
43. Purple Harlequin Toads
The purple harlequin toad, also called Atelopus barbotini or purple fluorescent frog, native to the uplands of French Guiana, can be found in the forest near creeks or rivers on paths and mossy logs. The colorful harlequin toads also come in green, orange, yellow, black and brown.
44. Jacaranda Blossoms
The jacaranda tree may be primarily grown for its timber, but the name derives from the Tupi-Guarani word for “fragrant”, which is a nod to the heady perfume of its blue or purple-blue flowers. Some varieties have white flowers, but the blue and purple shades are more common.
The jambul tree, sometimes known as the “Java plum” or the “black plum” tree, is native to India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and other Southeast Asian regions. The fruit of this tree starts out a bright yellowish green, but it changes to pink and red as it matures before finally settling on a deep purplish-black color.
Lavender is one of the most beloved scents around the world, and the flowers themselves are equally popular. With their soft purple and almost dusty green-gray stems, lavender blossoms have long been a part of human culture. In ancient Rome, a pound of lavender flowers cost about a month’s wages.
Lepidolite is part of the mica mineral group and is made up of lithium, manganese, and other distinctive elements. The unique rosy pink, gray, or purple color of this stone is usually caused by trace amounts of manganese that manifest as a soft red, pink, or purple hue.
48. Lilac Blossoms
Lilac plants are actually part of the olive family, but they’re not known for their fruits. Instead, they’re mostly grown for their soft, pale purple flowers, with their gentle scent and dainty appearance. Lilacs are native to the Balkan Peninsula, but they’ve been introduced throughout Europe and the Americas.
49. Lisianthus Blossoms
Lisianthus flowers are sometimes known as “prairie gentian” flowers. They grow throughout Mexico, the United States, the Caribbean, and South America. They prefer open grasslands, but these deep purple, red, or white flowers can also bloom in any ground that’s been recently plowed, tilled or otherwise disturbed to break up the soil.
50. Lucifer Hummingbirds
Lucifer hummingbirds are small birds – about four inches at their largest – with a long patch of brilliant magenta feathers that flare outwards at their throat and a dark green or blue forked tail. They’re found throughout Mexico and the United States in the desert.
Lupins are a group of flowers found throughout North and South America, although smaller growth centers exist in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Perhaps the most famous lupin variety is the Texas bluebonnet, a lupin variety that serves as the state flower of one of the larger American states.
The mangosteen is a tropical fruit native to the Indian Ocean. No one’s really sure where it originated, but today it grows in Southeast Asia, India, and South and Central America. The purple rind hides a sweet, tangy, and juicy fruit.
53. Morning Glories
Morning glories are large flowering plants that are named after their unusual blooming habits. They close up overnight and unfurl their petals in the first light of the early morning to reveal the blossom’s deep purple, blue, or purplish red color.
One of the two largest families of flowers, orchids are known for their truly unique shapes and are found in nearly every part of the world except for the extreme north. Some of the more famous purple varieties include Encyclia orchids, the flower of which resembles an octopus, or the Dendrobium orchid, with a more traditional flower appearance.
Pansies are hybrid flowers that derive from several other species in the violet flower family, which means that it’s hardly surprising that so many purple varieties exist. Pansies are well known for their bi-colored or color-segmented petals, usually presenting themselves in some combination of white, yellow, purple, purple-red, or blue.
56. Pasque Blossoms
The pasque plant grows in a clump and sends out flowers before it actually sends out foliage in the spring. Most pasque flowers are a dark violet color or a bluish-purple, but they can be selectively bred to produce a reddish-purple or even a white flowered variety.
57. Passion Fruit
Passion fruits come in a few very distinctive varieties. The yellow or golden passion fruit is a little bit larger and more acidic, but the purple passion fruit is noticeably smaller, has a richer and sweeter taste, and has a unique dark purple color that looks black in certain lights.
Native to Asia, North America, and Europe, peony bushes all have large, frilly-looking flowers that produce a lot of perfume and come in a wide range of colors. While pink, red, and white are the most common varieties, the purple variant of the peony flower usually takes a pale lavender color.
The purple, red, or white petunias we see today are usually a hybrid flower, made of a cross between several different flowers in the petunia family. The Inca and the Maya believed that petunias – or, more specifically, their perfume – could ward off spirits and monsters from the underworld.
Believed to be one of the first fruits that humans ever domesticated, plums often do not grow in the wild. While there are green or even orange varieties, the most common colors for plum fruits range from a bold red to a dark bluish-purple hue.
Potatoes are one of the most beloved vegetables around the world, having left an indelible mark on the cuisine of various cultures across the globe. While most of us probably picture the usual tan, brown, or red colors when we think of potatoes, they can come in a dark purple.
62. Himalayan Black Salt
Himalayan black salt, also known as Kala namak, is a kiln-fired rock salt with a sulfurous, pungent smell. The smell comes from its sulfur content and the purple to pink color range becomes even more visible when the salt is ground into a powder.
63. Purple Basil
A variety of sweet basil, purple basil has dark purple leaves and has a slightly less aromatic flavor than its traditional relatives. It’s most often used as a garnish to decorate other dishes, or else it’s used to make a purple pesto.
64. Purple Beetles
There are actually lots of different beetles that have a purple hue to their shiny bodies, but one that really stands out is the violet ground beetle. These flightless, nocturnal insects appear black at first glance, but they actually have an indigo or violet lining to their smooth, glossy bodies.
65. Purple Belgian Endive
The Belgian endive is a type of chicory that sprouts indoors without any sunlight, which is what gives the vegetable its distinctive color. If it’s a red chicory variety, growers may allow a little bit of sunlight to tinge the leaves with a deep purplish red color before harvesting.
66. Purple Bell Peppers
Like many of the other vegetables on this list, bell peppers aren’t often found growing purple – but it is still possible. The most common bell pepper colors are green, orange, yellow, and red, but white and purple varieties still exist.
67. Purple Broccoli
Purple broccoli is sometimes confused with purple cauliflower and is sometimes even called “violet cauliflower”, but it’s actually a type of broccoli. It’s most often grown in North America and Europe and has an apparent purple tint.
68. Purple Carrots
Purple carrots are a “cultivar” of regular carrots, which means that they can occur naturally, but are far more likely to be carefully and selectively bred in order to produce their striking purple color. They’re still loaded with the same amount of vitamins and nutrients that make “regular” carrots so important to our diets.
69. Purple Corn
Purple corn is a variation on flint maize that’s most often seen in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. In addition to its many uses in South American cuisine, the dark purple kernels of this corn can also be used to produce a rich purple dye added to food and drinks.
70. Purple Emperor Butterflies
Emperor butterflies are the largest butterfly family in the world, which means that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of these butterflies have dark or bright purple wings. Emperor butterflies, along with other groups of butterflies in the Nymphalidae family, are also known as “brush-footed butterflies” due to the hairs along their front feet.
71. Purple Gallinule
The purple gallinule is a crane-like bird that’s sometimes called the “yellow-legged gallinule”. Its neck and head are a deep purple-blue, while its legs are bright yellow, and it has bits of red and blue on its face, a white tail, and dark greenish-yellow feathers on its wings.
72. Purple Granite
Granite is any type of igneous rock that contains bits of quartz, feldspar, and other clearly visible minerals in its sediment. As a result, it can come in pretty much any color, although “neutral colors” like black, brown, and gray are most common and the pale purple variety is pretty rare.
73. Purple Grenadier
The purple grenadier is a small type of finch, no bigger than six inches long, with a black tail and a red bill. The male birds have reddish-brown heads with a bright blue splash of feathers around the eye and a dark violet purple underside, while females are slightly plainer.
74. Purple Honeycreepers
Native to the tropics and ranging from Colombia and Venezuela all the way south to Brazil, the purple honeycreeper is a small bird with distinctive coloring on both the male and female of the species. Male birds are a dark blue-purple, while females are yellow, green, brown, and orange.
75. Purple Jade
When most of us think of the mineral jade, we probably think of the pale, spring green mineral that’s been prized by so many different cultures. However, jade can occasionally form in a range of other colors, usually yellow or white – and even more rarely, a pale lavender purple color.
76. Purple Kale
Like many of the other entries on this list, purple kale isn’t an entirely different species from “regular” kale. Instead, it’s the result of a genetic mutation that creates a bright purplish-red color. Home chefs will swear up and down that it has a more cabbage-y flavor to it.
77. Purple Martins
The largest swallow in North America, purple martins aren’t actually purple at all. Instead, they have black feathers that refract a specific wavelength of light so that they only look purple or blue in specific lights. They’re incredibly fast and are known for diving into their nests at top speeds.
78. Purple Nudibranchs
The purple nudibranch or the purple sea slug is a frilly little creature that looks friendly but is actually a top coral reef predator. They have a smooth, sleek body that’s mostly purple except for a few white lines around them and the orange tips of their antennae.
79. Purple Peacocks
When we think of peacocks, most of us probably think of the green or blue variety. However, purple peacocks, although quite rare, do exist. They’re not fully purple, but some peacocks have a noticeably darker and more purplish neck and body than traditional peacocks, and the eyes on their tail tend to be slightly darker as well.
80. Purple Queen Anthias
The Purple Queen Anthia is a small fish that was discovered in 1927. It takes its name from its bright, pinkish-purple body, although its fins may be edged with blue. It often has a bright yellow chin or an orange band stretching from its nose to its pectoral fin.
81. Purple Sea Stars
Sometimes called the “ochre sea star”, the purple sea star lives in the Pacific Ocean. Its arms can grow between four and ten inches, and while most of the sea stars are an almost metallic purple color, some members of the species can be orange, yellow, red, or even brown.
82. Purple Striped Jellyfish
The body or “bell” of the purple-striped jellyfish can grow up to over two feet in diameter, with several bright reddish-purple stripes that stretch around their bell. They’re usually found off the coast of California in the United States, ranging as far south as San Diego.
83. Purple Tangs
Purple tangs are tropical fish that can grow to be about ten inches long. Their bodies are a deep bluish-purple color, but they have yellow tails and a splash of yellow on their fins, along with small black dots across their bodies to help them camouflage.
84. Purple Thyme
Purple thyme, sometimes called “wild thyme” or “creeping thyme”, is part of the thyme family, but it’s definitely not the same as the aromatic herb you’ll find in your kitchen. Purple thyme is a small shrub that bears tiny purple flowers and gives off a slightly lemony smell.
For thousands of years, quartz has been treasured as a semiprecious gemstone in jewelry and decoration alike. It’s the second most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust and is made of silicon and oxygen. Quartz comes in a wide range of colors, including a vibrant purple or a softer lavender.
Radishes have been around since before the Roman empire, and they’re still a popular addition to salads today. Depending on when they’re harvested and how they’re grown, radishes can range in color from a plain, bright white to a dark, rich purple, along with nearly every shade in between.
87. Red Leaf Lettuce
There’s technically no difference between red leaf lettuces and regular lettuces – at least, not in terms of species. Instead, red leaf lettuce is a “normal” lettuce plant that has been carefully cultivated to produce the eye-catching reddish-purple leaves that make them a striking fit for salads and gardens alike.
88. Red Onions
In America, they’re called red onions, but to most of the world, they’re known as purple onions. These sharp, pungent vegetables have such a distinctive purple color that for centuries, the skin of the onion has been a major component in making purple dyes in many cultures around the world.
Found mainly throughout Asia but also in North America and other places around the world, Rhododendrons are small, flowering bushes that can grow into small trees if allowed to grow unchecked. The bushes, with their pale pink, white, red, or purple flowers, are often considered to be an excellent base plant for a bonsai.
90. Scabiosa Blossoms
Scabiosa flowers, often known as “pincushion flowers”, are part of the honeysuckle family. They get their name from their usage in folk medicine. During the middle ages, scabiosa flowers were often used to treat scabies, although they’re more valued today for their pale purple blossoms.
Technically a type of onion, shallots are smaller than the traditional onion and were considered to be a separate species until 2010. Beneath the brown papery outside, shallots have a very pale purple color, although that color fades with each successive layer.
Sodalite is a relatively recent discovery – for Europeans, at least – as the first descriptions of this royal blue mineral appear in 1811, when deposits were found in West Greenland. Before then, the ancient Norte Chico civilization valued the mineral highly and used it for trade in building their pre-Columbian empire.
Spinel is a stunning reddish-purple mineral that takes its name from the Latin word for “spine”, a reference to the mineral’s sharp angles and naturally forming pointed crystals. Technically spinel comes in red, purple, blue, green, black, yellow, or brown, but the red minerals are definitely the most famous.
94. Splendid Sunbirds
Splendid sunbirds may drink nectar and hover in midair like hummingbirds do, but they’re from a completely different bird family. The males of the species are purple, green and blue with a red splotch on their chests, while the females are a rich green brown color with a paler yellow underside.
Spodumene is a natural mineral found in Afghanistan, Madagascar, Pakistan, Australia, and Brazil, among other regions. It can occur in a colorless form, but is most often found in either a yellowish green, emerald green, purple, or lilac form, with clearly visible striations and clear crystal faces.
When we think of tulips, we most often think of bright red or yellow blossoms, but tulips can come in a rich, bold purple as well. Regardless of the color, these large flowers are an extremely popular garden plant, native to regions ranging from Southern Europe to Central Asia.
Sometimes called the “purple yam” or the “greater yam”, ube is a species of yam with a very unique color. It’s usually a bright purple shade, but can range in color from violet to lavender to creamy white and can be found growing in many places around the world.
98. Varied Buntings
The varied bunting is a small songbird native to North and Central America. The females of the species are usually light brown and lack distinctive markings, but the males are another story. The male birds are purple-red and have a bright patch on their neck that’s usually a bright red.
99. Verbena Blossoms
Verbena is actually the name given to more than one hundred and fifty flowers in the same family. They grow throughout Europe and the Americas, but the one aspect that connects all of these different flowers is the soft purple hue that can be found in each one’s petals.
100. Violet Sea Snails
Violet sea snails are a relatively large species of aquatic snail with a pale purple shell that fades to white when viewed from above. They travel and hunt by building a raft of bubbles that lets them float along the surface of the ocean.
101. Violet-Backed Starling
The violet-backed starling is also known as the amethyst starling or the plum-colored starling, and it’s easy to see how this bird got its name. While the female birds have brown and black feathers, the male birds have a bright purple mantle of feathers covering their backs, sides, and wings.
102. Violet-crowned Woodnymph
The violet-crowned woodnymph is a small hummingbird found throughout South and Central America. It takes its name from the splash of dark purple feathers at the very top of its head that contrasts the green and blue feathers covering the rest of its body. It’s also an extremely territorial bird.
Violets aren’t actually blue, as the old rhyme would have us believe, but instead a soft bluish purple color. When the petals are used to make perfume, a compound called ionone actually disables the human nose’s ability to smell the fragrance for brief periods.
Wisteria is a pale purple flower that grows throughout China, Korea, Japan, the United States, and Canada. The name “wisteria” refers to a couple of different plants, ranging from a climbing vine to a large tree, but all strains of the same family include the characteristic purple blooms.
Technically a type of daisy, zinnias are native to North and South America and are highly sensitive to frost and cold weather. They can be found in a range of colors, including a bright, cheerful purple color that helps them stand out along the hills and valleys.
Photos of distant galaxies are truly spectacular. You can see the small white spots of stars along with what look like swirls of purple-blue clouds. But what makes galaxies look purple? The answer is the presence of young stars. When stars have recently formed, they have what appears to be a purplish or bluish glow. Since galaxies are vast and the photos taken of them are from a great distance, the many young stars give off an overall purple hue.
107. Costa’s Hummingbirds
The striking Costa’s hummingbird has a body that is mostly a dull brownish color. However, the male’s head is a bright iridescent purple. It has a smallish range that is mostly made up of Baja California and surrounding areas. It lives in deserts and drinks the nectar of desert flowers. It will occasionally eat insects that it finds on the petals.
108. Purple Sunsets
Sunrises and sunsets are among the most beautiful sights that you can see every day. You might normally expect sunsets to be red, yellow, and orange. But as you can see in the photo, some sunsets have an overall lilac cast. Sunsets that are all or mostly purple have an interesting origin: nearby volcanoes. Volcanoes release very fine aerosols that become distributed in the stratosphere. These aerosols then reflect blue light. The light mixes with the red glow of sunsets, and the result is a spectacular purple color.
109. Purple Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi is a vegetable that not all of us have heard of. As you can see in the picture, purple kohlrabi somewhat resembles a beet. But this interesting veggie is actually more closely related to cabbage. It also isn’t a root vegetable, as its round “bulbs” grow above ground with the leaves sprouting out of them. This gives them a very strange appearance. These plants taste somewhat like broccoli or cauliflower, although they are a little sweeter. They are especially good in salads.
110. Royal Grammas
This strange and beautiful fish looks like something out of a painting. You might sometimes hear it called the “fairy basslet.” These fish live among other bright marine life in tropical coral reefs in the western Atlantic. But thanks to their generally peaceful nature, they make great additions to tropical fish tanks as long as they have enough room. If the royal gramma looks familiar, you may have seen one in the film Finding Nemo. The film featured a royal gramma named Gurgle.
111. Common Grackles
To the untrained eye, the common grackle might look like a crow. There are a few ways to tell the difference between the two, but the most obvious one is probably eye color. Crows have black eyes while the eye of the grackle is yellow. Common grackles are mostly black, but when the light hits them, you’ll notice a bright purplish sheen on their heads and chests. There is even a subspecies called the “purple grackle” that has more prominent purple coloring. These birds have a very wide range; they appear in many parts of North America that are east of the Rocky Mountains.
112. Cuckoo Wasps
The name “cuckoo wasp” actually refers to a very wide range of species: there are over 3000! These species all look relatively similar, and they are named after their parasitic lifestyle. The cuckoo bird lays its eggs in the nests of other bird species, leaving the young to be raised by the other birds. Cuckoo wasps do the same thing, laying their eggs in the nests of unrelated insect species. These wasps have beautiful iridescent coloring. Some species are mostly green. But some, like the wasp in the picture, have at least a portion of the body that is glistening purple.
113. Common Tit Butterflies
This stunning tropical butterfly is a bright bluish purple in color, although some individuals are more purple than others. The upward-facing surface of the male’s wings are iridescent purple. The female’s colors are more muted. Her wings are a brownish color with purplish patches that appear to fade into the brown. These butterflies are very common in Singapore. They often visit flowers as well as water that collects along roadsides. Despite its exotic beauty, this butterfly is actually very common in its native range of Southeast Asia and India.
114. Red-Spotted Purple Butterflies
The beautiful red-spotted purple butterfly is native to many parts of North America. But it is somewhat unique in that the northern variant and southern variant look like different species. The purple one is the southern species. It is patterned in a bluish-purple color, with the tops of the wings appearing more purple. This color washes out to a bright sky blue at the bottoms of the wings. The northern variant looks black with two wide white bands on the upper wings. The purple southern variant evolved to mimic a species of swallowtail. The swallowtail tastes bitter and off-putting to predators. The red-spotted purple is more edible, but predators avoid it thanks to the butterfly species’ similar coloring.
115. Purple Glossy Starlings
This odd-looking bird looks a bit like a skinny grackle. However, their feathers are glossier and much more purple. Their heads and bodies are metallic purple and their wings are metallic green. They have big yellow eyes that make them look surprised. These birds are native to tropical Africa, where they primarily eat a wide variety of fruit and insects. Like their starling relatives in other parts of the world, purple glossy starlings are loud birds that can often be found chattering in large groups. But unlike many birds, these ones nest in holes.
These nutritious root vegetables are grown across the world in temperate climates. There are plenty of different varieties; smaller, sweeter turnips grown mostly for human consumption as well as larger varieties grown for livestock feed. Some turnips are all white, but many are a distinctive two-tone color: the top is bright purple and the bottom is white. The root isn’t the only nutritious part of the turnip, though; its leaves, usually called “turnip greens” are often cooked similarly to kale, collard greens, or mustard greens. The greens are especially rich in vitamin K.
It’s a myth that a chameleon can turn any possible color to match its surroundings. But most wild chameleons can adjust their coloration anywhere from a bright leaf green to a dull brown. However, in captivity, chameleons can be bred in a huge range of colors. Many of them are a hodgepodge of different colors. And some, like the chameleon in the picture, have an overall purple color to them. There are a few different types of chameleons, but most of them have very docile temperaments. Though it can be difficult to get their temperature and humidity levels right in their tanks, chameleons can make great pets.
118. Purple Coleus
Coleus comes in many colorful varieties, many of which are purple. It was originally a tropical plant that became very popular in the Victorian era as a bedding plant. In warm enough climates, purple coleus varieties make beautiful ground covers. If you want to use coleus in your garden, you might be excited to hear that there are countless cultivars. Some have ruffled edges, some were bred to tolerate full sun, and some are even dwarf varieties. Leaf sizes and total plant size will vary widely depending on the specific cultivar you choose.
Many of the purple things on the list are a muted, blackish purple. But beautyberries have an almost unreal, bright purple appearance. “Beautyberry” refers to a whole genus of plants including deciduous and evergreen varieties. Many of them are grown as garden plants. However, the American beautyberry, a species native to the American southeast, is sometimes made into jelly. Interestingly enough, multiple chemicals isolated from the plant can act as bug repellent. One, callicarpenal, has been patented by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. Newer research has even shown that this plant has some anti-disease properties.
Despite the somewhat unappealing name, pickerelweed actually produces lovely flowers that are soft lilac purple in color. The name “pickerelweed” refers to a genus of plants. Much like lupine plants, pickerelweed plants have flowers that grow on prominent spikes. These plants are useful as well as beautiful; in constructed wetlands, they are very efficient at filtering polluted water. They also are a food source for both waterfowl and some species of bees. But the plant can be a nuisance as well: in tropical areas, pickerelweed grows so easily that it may be considered an invasive species.
121. Purple Tomatoes
If you ask most people to picture a tomato, they’ll probably imagine a bright red orb. But like many plants grown for food, tomatoes come in many, many cultivars. Some of these are purple. Purple tomato varieties are known for having a sweet yet balanced taste, so they are especially suited to being eaten raw. One of the more prominent purple varieties is the Cherokee Purple, a rich-tasting cultivar that is especially good on salads and sandwiches. You might sometimes see purple grape tomatoes sold in variety packs with red, orange, and yellow tomatoes. These variety packs offer a nice spectrum of different tomato flavors, and they’re great in salads.
122. Japanese Maple Trees
Japanese maple trees come in an almost unbelievable variety of colors. These many cultivars have all been developed from a wild tree species native to Korea, China, Mongolia, Japan, and Russia. Many garden cultivars have a lovely, symmetrical dome-like canopy that makes a welcome addition to any garden. One of the more popular colors for this tree is a deep, almost eggplant purple like the one shown in the picture. Japanese maples come in dwarf varieties as well, and these smaller trees look especially nice in flower gardens that primarily incorporate smaller, shorter plants.
123. Purple Finches
On average, North American finches don’t seem to be as colorful as their tropical counterparts. But the purple finch, while not exactly neon-bright, nonetheless offers a burst of color. The male finch is the one with the purple coloration; his head and breast are dark reddish purple. Some individual birds are closer to being purple, while others are more red. The purple fades into brown closer to the bird’s tail. The female is a dull greenish-brown and looks a lot like a sparrow. In the eastern part of North America, its range is somewhat far north, and it is the official state bird of New Hampshire.
124. Orchid Dottybacks
This beautiful fish is a light, electric purple in color. Like many other bright fish, this one is native to tropical waters full of coral reefs. However, it has a somewhat restricted range; it is only native to the Red Sea. The orchid dottyback is sometimes kept as an aquarium fish. In aquaculture, it is considered to be a great choice for beginners to the saltwater aquarium hobby. These fish are fairly long-lived; they will often live between 5-7 years in captivity. However, with good care, certain individuals have lived much longer.
Sugilite is one of the rarer silicate minerals out there. But as you can see in the picture, it can be used to make remarkably beautiful gemstones. Sugilite is usually a deeper and more intense purple than amethyst, so it makes especially striking jewelry. In the metaphysical world, this stone is associated with the energies of love, light, and healing.
Things That Are Purple in Nature
As mentioned previously, there may be other purple things in nature that didn’t make this list, if only because there’s not enough space in the world to list every purple object found in the great outdoors.
No matter where you live, the world outside your door is just bursting with color, splendor, and natural beauty that’s just waiting to be discovered. Take the time to explore your neighborhood for bits of nature that you would otherwise have overlooked and never stop looking for the color that can be found all around you!