common blue violet

(Viola sororia)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

common blue violet

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

Midwest

FAC - Facultative

Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative

Nativity

Native

 
Occurrence

Common and widespread

 
Habitat

Moist to wet. Woods, meadows.

 
Flowering

April to June

     
Flower Color

Violet to white

     
Height

3 to 8

     

Identification

This is a common and widespread stemless blue violet. It is an erect, perennial forb that rises from an underground stem (rhizome). It can be 3 to 12 tall but in Minnesota it is usually no more than 8 in height. The rhizome is short, stout, and horizontal or oblique. It sometimes branches to form colonies. It does not produce above-ground creeping runners (stolons).

There is no central stem. A rosette of basal leaves rise directly from the rhizome on up to 6 long leaf stalks (petioles). The petioles are strongly ascending, hairy, and have a single groove on the upper (dorsal) side. At the base of each petiole is a pair of leaf-like appendages (stipules). The stipules are green, less than long, and separate completely from the petiole. Leaf blades are held at an angle to the petiole. They are broadly egg-shaped to kidney-shaped, rounded or angled at the tip, and heart-shaped at the base. Most are as wide as they are long and most are broadly angled at the tip. They are unlobed except for the heart-shaped base. The sinus at the base of the blade is relatively broad and the lobes do not touch. Summer leaves are 2 to 5 wide. The hairiness of the leaves varies between populations, from nearly hairless to conspicuously covered with spreading hairs. The upper surface may be hairy or hairless. The lower surface is usually hairy at least at the base. The margins are toothed with rounded to slightly sharp teeth.

One to several leafless flower stalks (scapes) rise from the rootstock at the middle of the rosette. The scape is erect, leafless, usually hairy, and topped with a solitary flower. It is abruptly curved downward near the top. It is usually about 4 long, shorter than the petioles, and the flowers are usually overtopped by the leaves.

Two types of flowers are produced: open, cross-pollinated (chasmogamous) flowers are produced in the spring; and closed, self-fertilizing (cleistogamous) flowers are produced in the summer.

Cross-pollinated flowers are ¾ to 13 16 long and wide. There are 5 sepals, 5 petals, 5 stamens, and 1 style. The sepals are green and shorter than the petals. The petals are usually medium violet with a dark violet ring near the base and white at the base. They are sometimes completely white. The two upper petals are erect or bent backward. The two lateral petals are spreading, white at the base, and have a tuft of white hairs (beard) near the throat. The lower petal is as long as the lateral petals but is not bearded. It has conspicuous, dark purple veins near the throat and a hooked, rounded spur at the base. The 5 stamens are orange and have very short filaments. They do not protrude from the throat of the corolla and are concealed by the beards of the petals. The flowers are not fragrant.

Self-pollinating flowers are inconspicuous. They occur on shorter scapes that may be arched or lie flat on the ground.

The fruit is an egg-shaped to ellipse-shaped, ¼ to long, hairless capsule with many brown seeds. The capsule protrudes noticeably beyond the persistent sepals.

 
Similar
Species

Northern bog violet (Viola nephrophylla) lower petal is bearded.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

Taxonomy
Authorities do not agree on the classification of Viola sororia. Some authorities, including GRIN38 and ITIS37, list four varieties. In this classification, common blue violet is Viola sororia var. sororia and northern bog violet is Viola sororia var. affinis. Others, including PLANTS3, NCBI34, Gleason & Cronquist41, and Voss43, do not recognize any varieties. In this classification, common blue violet is Viola sororia and northern bog violet is Viola nephrophylla. The Minnesota DNR (MNTaxa28) follows the latter classification.


Taxonomy

Family:

Violaceae (violet)

 

Subfamily:

Violoideae

 

Tribe:

Violeae

 
Synonyms

Viola chalcosperma

Viola X champlainensis

Viola floridana

Viola X insessa

Viola langloisii

Viola langloisii var. pedatiloba

Viola latiuscula

Viola X melissifolia

Viola X montivaga

 

Viola X napae

Viola palmata var. sororia

Viola papilionacea

Viola papilionacea var. priceana

Viola priceana

Viola rosacea

Viola septentrionalis

Viola septentrionalis var. septentrionalis

Viola X subaffinis

 
Common
Names

bayou violet

blue prairie violet

butterfly violet

dooryard violet

downy blue violet

hairy wood violet

 

hooded blue violet

meadow violet

sister violet

violet

wood violet

woolly blue violet


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

bearded

Bearing one or more tufts of hairs.

 

cleistogamous

Automatically self-pollinating. Refers to bud-like flowers that do not open but automatically self-pollinate, or to plants with such flowers.

 

petiole

The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.

 

rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

scape

An erect, leafless stalk growing from the rootstock and supporting a flower or a flower cluster.

 

stipule

A small, leaf-like appendage at the base of a leaf stalk or flower stalk.

 

stolon

An above-ground, creeping stem that grows along the ground and produces roots and sometimes new plants at its nodes. A runner.

       

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Plant

  common blue violet    
       

Flower

  common blue violet   common blue violet
       
  common blue violet   common blue violet
       

Spur

  common blue violet   common blue violet
       

Leaves

  common blue violet    
       
       

 

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  Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia)
Bill Keim
 
  Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia)  
     
  Viola sororia COMMON BLUE VIOLET
Frank Mayfield
 
  Viola sororia COMMON BLUE VIOLET  
     
  Wood Violet
Joshua Mayer
 
  Wood Violet  

 

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  MyNature Apps; Identifying Common Blue Violet, Viola sororia
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Identifying Common Blue Violet, Viola sororia www.mynatureapps.com

 
     

 

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Bill Reynolds
6/1/2014

Location: Pennington County

common blue violet


     
     
 

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