Pansies, Melanium or viola, are also known as Viola x wittrockiana. Viola tricolor and Viola Jackanapes are also related and are a hardy variety of the same flower. They are perennials but usually are planted as annuals or biennials. You can plant them usually early to establish for spring in some climates you can plant them as early as September.
Melanium have four petals pointing upwards, with only one pointing down, but violets or Viola have two petals pointing up and three petals pointing down. They like the sun or partial shade and well drained moist soil. Generally Pansies bear flowers and seeds in its second year and then dies but most hybirds do flower the first year. The flowers are both fragrant as well as edible. They are relatively disease free.