Wild violet (Common blue violet)

Encyclopedia Article

common blue violet (wild violet)                    Vioila sororia Willd.

Family:  Violaceae (violet)                             
Life cycle:   
Perennial, reproducing by seed and short rhizomes
Native status:  Native
Habitat:  lawns, wooded areas                     

General description:  Leaves emerge from a basal crown, up to 4.5 in long and 3.5 in wide with petioles.  Leaf shape variable, ranging from heart to egg shaped; rounded teeth on margins, hairless.  Flowers are blue to purple with 5 showy petals.  Rhizomes are short, think and branched.

Key ID traits:   Heart-shaped leaves developing from crown, typically found in dense colonies due to spreading by short rhizomes.

Similar species:  Several similar violet species are found in Iowa, but common blue violet is best adapted to lawns.  Field pansy is a winter annual with a similar appearance occasionally found in no-till fields.

Wild violet is usually found in clumps.  Leaves are heart shaped with dentate margins.  Flowers are usually blue or purple, but white biotypes can be found.