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Florida Violet Viola sororia

Previously known as:

  • Viola floridana
  • Viola latiuscula
  • Viola palmata var. sororia
  • Viola papilionacea
  • Viola papilionacea var. priceana
  • Viola priceana
Phonetic Spelling
vy-OH-la so-ROR-ee-uh
Description

Viola sororia, known as the common blue violet, is a stemless herbaceous perennial in the Violaceae family. Its showy flowers has led to it being named as state flower for several states.  It appears in woods, thickets, and along streambeds, especially in shadier areas. It has glossy green heart-shaped leaves that emerge directly from the rhizomes.  

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 (a plant that has a horizontal stem located above the ground and can produce roots and vertical stems at the nodes) and will spread quickly-may become invasive in fertile, moist locations.

Near the ground, there are flowers that do not open.  Their whitish fruit contain numerous seeds.

Although the taste of the flowers is bland, they are edible.  Raw, they can be used is small amounts in salads and cooked can be used to make jellies and candies.  

Used as a wildflower in lawns, rock gardens, edging, and border. This plant seeds freely and can be used as a groundcover along walls and path edges as mowing can limit its spread.

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.  May have some issues with slugs, snails, aphids, red spider mite, violet gall midge, powdery mildew and pansy leaf spot. It self-seeds freely and in lawns and gardens can become a weed. During hot summer months, the foliage tends to depreciate.

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

 

VIDEO Created by Homegrown featuring Travis Birdsell, County Extension Director and Extension Agent for Ashe County Extension

More information on Viola.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Freckles'
  • 'Rubra'
'Freckles', 'Rubra'
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Freckles'
  • 'Rubra'
'Freckles', 'Rubra'
Tags:
#NC Native Pollinator Plant#sun#wet soils tolerant#dappled sunlight#seed#summer fruits#summer flowers#forb#self-seeding#high maintenance#easy to grow#bird friendly#food source#full sun#perennial flowers#shade tolerant#moth larvae#full sun flowers#food source spring#spring fruits#wet sites#fruit#colorful#NC native#winter flowers#winter color purple#accent plant#food source herbage#native wildflower#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly larvae#small group plantings#small and large mammals#winter garden#native groundcover#weedy#larval host plant#native garden#Piedmont Mountains FAC#edible leaves#wildlife plant#showy flowers#moist soil#coastal FAC#full sunlight#summer interest#edible flowers#borders#perennials#groundcover#clumps#purple#dappled shade#food source summer#groups#cpp#full shade#perennial#black walnut#sunshine#wildflower garden#shade garden#cutting garden#specialized bees#bumble bees#winter interest#purple flowers#clumping#bees#fantz#fruits#violet flowers#pollinator plant#bumblebees#native#mammals#small plant#nectar plant#seeds#native perennial#deer resistant#lawn weed#pollinator garden#food source root#small mammals#fritillary butterflies#edible plant#edible#white flowers#butterfly friendly#mass planting#spring interest#moths#partial sun#violet#shade flowers#audubon#clay soils tolerant#partial shade#groundcovers that can be mowed#edible garden#seed pods#attractive foliage#spring flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Viola
    Species:
    sororia
    Family:
    Violaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and central North America
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
    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. This plant is resistant to damage by deer. Butterflies and moths use this plant as a larval host. Birds and small mammals use the seed fruits as a food source.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Defines Paths
    Easy to Grow
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Edibility:
    Young leaves can be used in salads or cooked as greens. Flowers are often added to salads or desserts.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 10 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 10 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Ground Cover
    Herb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    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:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit is a 3-chambered capsule. In North Carolina, fruits are available from April to June.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    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;. There are 5 unequal petals, the uppermost pair nearly erect, the lateral pair spreading. Blue to whitened with medial basal erect pubescence, lowermost petal white basally, veins dark violet; spur to .1 inch; sepals 5. In North Carolina, flowers are purple to purplish-white and appear from February to May.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    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:
    Yellowish-green leaves are basal, simple, cordate, acute, serrate to crenate, pubescent underneath, subpeltate, to 4 in across; stipules linear-lanceolate. Growing condition may affect the leaf color.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are lacking.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy