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Viola sororia

Previously known as:

  • Viola papilionacea
Description

Viola sororia, known as the common blue violet, is a stemless herbaceous perennial in the Violaceae family. It appears in woods, thickets, and along streambeds. It has glossy green heart-shaped leaves. The purple flowers have white throats and the three lower petals are somewhat hairy. The erect flower stem droops slightly and the flowers bend toward the ground. It tolerates wet soil, clay soil, and being planted near black walnut trees. Blooms in spring; stoloniferous and will spread quickly-may become invasive in fertile, moist locations; used as a wildflower in lawns, rock gardens, edging, and border.

Seasons of Interest:

     Bloom: Spring-Summer, April-August

Wildlife Value: Nectar from the flowers attract butterflies and bees.  Members of the genus Viola support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Gonandrena) fragilisAndrena (Gonandrena) integraand Andrena (Gonandrena) platypariaThis plant is resistant to damage by deer.

Insects, Diseases and Other Problems: No serious insect or disease problems.  It self-seeds freely and in lawns and gardens can become a weed. 

Quick ID

  • Leaves are basal, heart-shaped, crenate and subpeltate
  • Many solitary, 2 cm flowers on slender, peltate stalks
  • Acaulescent herbaceous plant with purple to white spring flowers
  • Lateral petals with lion mane pubescence basally
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Freckles'
  • 'Rubra'
Tags:
#bees#butterflies#wildlife plant#nectar plant#damp soil#black walnut#clay#wet sites#specialized bees#cpp#deer resistant#wet soil#pollinator plant#edible garden#fantz#lawn weed
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Freckles'
  • 'Rubra'
Tags:
#bees#butterflies#wildlife plant#nectar plant#damp soil#black walnut#clay#wet sites#specialized bees#cpp#deer resistant#wet soil#pollinator plant#edible garden#fantz#lawn weed
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Viola
    Species:
    sororia
    Family:
    Violaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Edibility:
    Young leaves can be used in salads or cooked as greens. Flowers are often added to salads or desserts.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Wildflower
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit is a 3-chambered capsule.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are borne on long peduncles from ground slightly overtopping leaves, zygomorphic, deep blue-violet to white, nodding;, petals 5, unequal, uppermost pair nearly erect, lateral pair spreading, blue to whitened with medial basal erect pubescence, lowermost petal white basally, veins dark violet; spur to .1 inch; sepals 5.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Velvety
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are basal, simple, cordate, acute, serrate to crenate, pubescent underneath, subpeltate, to 4 in across; stipules linear-lanceolate.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are lacking.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Woodland
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy