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Canadian White Violet Viola canadensis

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
vy-OH-la ka-na-DEN-sis
Description

Canadian violets are North American wildflowers in the Violaceae family.  Native to the mountains and piedmont of North Carolina, they can be found in rich mesic areas, such as floodplains. They have showy fragrant white tinged with purple flowers from summer to fall. The flowers face outward at the tips of short, slender stalks.

They do not spread by runners like other violets, however, may form clumps.

Heavy shade and being planted under black walnut trees do not affect this plant.  They freely self-seed to the point of being weedy.

Performance is better in cool summer climates of the northern U.S. and Canada than in hot summers like most of North Carolina.  They are probably too weedy for rock gardens or borders but do well in shaded woodland gardens.

This variety can be distinguished from other white violas by its flowers that grow from the axils of the upper leaves its yellow petal bases.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Self-seeds to a point of being invasive.  May be considered too aggressive for planting in rock gardens or along borders.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#fragrant#white#showy flowers#partial shade#fragrant flowers#heavy shade#perennial#white flowers#weed#wildlife plant#partial sun#deep shade#showy#moths#weedy#native perennial#nectar plant#piedmont#spring flowers#accent plant#mass planting#black walnut#seeds#small mammals#specialized bees#moist soil#food source#cpp#herbaceous#NC native#perennial flowers#summer flowers#deer resistant#small and large mammals#herbaceous perennial#attractive foliage#mountains#seed pods#flood plains#floodplain#rich soil#small plant#groundcover#summer interest#seedpods#cutting garden#spring interest#native groundcover#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#naturalized area#mid-summer flowers#larval host plant#summer fruits#food source summer#accent#forb#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#fruits#native#perennials#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#food source root#butterfly friendly#butterfly larvae#moth larvae#full shade#food source mid-summer#small groups#fruit#part sun#part shade#seed#pollinator garden#audubon#woodlands#fritillary butterflies
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Viola
    Species:
    canadensis
    Family:
    Violaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    AK, AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant supports Fritillary butterfly larvae. Nectar from the flowers attract butterflies and bees.  Members of the genus Viola support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Gonandrena) fragilis, Andrena (Gonandrena) integra, and Andrena (Gonandrena) platyparia. Butterflies and moths use this plant as a larval host. Birds and small mammals use the seed fruits as a food source.. This plant is resistant to damage by deer.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to damage by deer.
    Edibility:
    The flowers are edible.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Herb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The oval capsule is up to 1/2 inch long and covered in fine hairs. It changes from green to brown before splitting into 3 sections to release numerous brown seeds. In North Carolina, fruits are available from June to August.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Single flowers are about 1 inch across or less, slightly irregular with 5 white petals, distinctly yellow at the base, and dark purple lines on the lower petal. The side petals are “bearded” with tufts of short hairs. The backs of the petals are tinged purple. In North Carolina, flowers are available from April to July.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The basal and stem leaves are mostly heart-shaped with scalloped edges or shallow teeth and are 2-4 inches long and 3 inches wide. The tips are sharply pointed. The stem leaves are longer and narrower than basal ones. Fine hairs are on leaf edges and along major veins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Green with a purplish tinge. Typically, hairless or may have a few scattered hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Weedy