Common Blue Violet, Confederate Violet, Dooryard Violet, Florida Violet, Hooded Blue Violet, Meadow Violet, Missouri Violet, Purple Violet, Sister Violet, Wild Violet, Woolly Blue Violet
Synonyms of Viola sororia (21) (Updated on 1-18-23 from Plants of the World Online): Viola alachuana Murrill, Viola allardii Greene, Viola cucullata var. alba Torr. & A.Gray, Viola cucullata var. sororia (Willd.) Torr. & A.Gray, Viola cuspidata Greene, Viola domestica f. alba Farw., Viola grandis Greene, Viola laetecaerulea Greene, Viola nodosa Greene, Viola palmata var. sororia (Willd.) Pollard, Viola papilionacea Pursh, Viola papilionacea var. alba (Torr. & A.Gray) Farw., Viola papilionacea f. albiflora Grover, Viola papilionacea var. domestica Pollard, Viola papilionacea f. michaelii Creutz, Viola planifolia Greene, Viola sororia f. beckwithiae House, Viola sororia var. incognita J.Lacey, Viola sororia f. pallida F.Seym., Viola thompsoniae Chapm., Viola wilmatteae Pollard & Cockerell
Viola sororia Willd. is the accepted scientific name for this species of Viola. It was named and described as such by Carl Ludwig von Willdenow in Hortus Berolinensis in 1806.
The genus, Viola L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
As of 1-18-23 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 663 species in the Viola genus. The genus is a member of the plant family Violaceae with a total of 24 genera. Those numbers could change periodically as updates are made on POWO.
The above distribution map for Viola sororia is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map on the USDA Plants Database is somewhat different. Several synonyms of Viola sororia are now accepted species which can affect maps for the species in general.
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER POSITIVE ID.
Viola sororia is the most common Violet growing on the farm and probably the most common in North America. They prefer growing where they can thrive year after year which they do very well. They grow in flower beds, around trees, in fence rows, along foundations, and even right out in the middle of the yard. I just let them grow and do as they please
Viola sororia is a common perennial wildflower in Missouri and most of North America. It is the most common violet in Missouri.
This species of violet grows in abundance in several areas in my yard. They like growing along foundations, sheds, shadier flower beds, brush piles, and wooded areas where they won’t be mowed off. There were also a lot of them growing in the yard where I lived in Mississippi. They have grown in the yard everywhere I have lived except California. Every wooded area I go wildflower hunting has Viola sororia.
While they do grow in more sunny locations, they prefer light to part shade. They also like a loamy soil rich in organic matter, but they are also adaptable. They do their best with consistent moisture, but if they are in a shady spot, they will look great all summer.
The stems of Viola sororia emerge directly from rhizomes and have no above ground stems (acaulescent).
The heart-shaped (cordate) leaves emerge directly from underground rhizomes (acaulescent) on long stems (petioles). The petioles can be hairless (glabrous) or have fine, white, spreading hairs (pubescent). The leaves are usually as wide as they are long, but some can be longer than wide, or visa versa. The margins have can have fine to coarse teeth or be scalloped. Leaf surfaces can be glabrous (hairless) but more commonly have fine white hairs on both surfaces. Leaf shape and hairiness can vary from one colony to another. Leaves grow to around 3” long x 3” wide. OH, there are stipules but I have to do some investigating because I haven’t noticed those. I thought stipules only grew at the base of petioles on caulescent violets… Hmmm…
Flowers grow from a single flower stem (peduncle) from the rhizome.
Single flowers emerge on long peduncles from the rhizomes. The upper part of the peduncle. The upper part (apices) of the pedicels curve downward.
The flowers have 2 upper petals, 2 lateral petals,, and a lower petal in the center. The flowers are normally medium to dark violet with greenish-white throats and darker veins. However, they can be all white or white with purple spots.
The above photo shows a flower with a purplish peduncle and white spreading hairs.
The above photo shows a flower in a lighter shade of purple with darker veins. The lower lateral petals have white beards.
The above photo was taken of a colony along an old goldfish pool in the shade bed.
The above photo is a good one showing the cordate (heart) shape of the leaves. Notice the margins of this leaf have teeth and become scalloped toward the tip.
I am about to run out of words…
In all, the Viola sororia is a neat little plant that does get around if they are happy in their environment.
As far as flower color is concerned, they are quite variable.
By May, the noticeable flowers are almost all gone but the plants continue to grow.
Look at the size of the above leaf!
Later in the season, cleistogamous (closed) flowers are also produced that are self-pollinating. Several species of bees, flies, and butterflies visit the flowers to feed on pollen and nectar, but are not reliable pollinators. This is why it also produces the cleistogamous flowers which produce seeds. These flowers have no petals and are easily overlooked. I would really like to take photos of those, but until I wrote the descriptions I didn’t even know they produce them. The things you learn when you read!
The 3-parted seed capsules produce brownish seeds that are ejected as the capsules split. Apparently ants like the soft appendages on the seeds for some reason and are one of their distributors…
I will continue to take more photos as time goes by. I take a lot of photos and submit observations on iNaturalist. It is addicting…
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the family farm and in other areas. The farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 250 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF MISSOURI (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
MSU-MIDWEST WEEDS AND WILDFLOWERS
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
FRIENDS OF THE WILDFLOWER GARDEN
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
MARYLAND BIODIVERSITY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON-BURKE HERBARIUM
NATIVE PLANTS OF THE CAROLINAS & GEORGIA
BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂