Viola missouriensis - Missouri Violet

Viola missouriensis plant

Family - Violaceae

Stems - Plants acaulescent, from a knotty rhizome. Rhizomes stout and thick with slightly thickened roots.

Leaves - Leaves all basal and petiolate. Petioles glabrous, +/-12cm long, with an adaxial groove caused by a thin margin of decurent leaf tissue. Stipules linear-attenuate, whtish, glabrous, to +/-2cm long, to 2mm broad at the base. Blades cordate at the base (some merely rounded). Mature leaves triangular-cordate, longer than broad, tapering to an acute apex, crenate-serrate, glabrous, dull-dark green above, light green below, to +5cm long, +3cm broad.

Viola missouriensis leaves

Inflorescence - Multiple pedunculate flowers arising from the base of the plant. Flowers typically equal to or exceeding the leaves. Peduncles glabrous, to +12cm long, with a pair of opposing or alternate bracts about 1/2 way up the peduncle. Bracts glabrous, minute, lanceolate, +/-3mm long, 1mm broad. Peduncle nodding at the apex.

Flowers - Petals 5, lilac, white at the base, with darker purple veins. Lateral petals bearded (the hairs 2mm long). Petals otherwise glabrous, rounded, -2cm long, +/-1cm broad, lower petal with a saccate base (the spur to 3mm long). Stamens 5, erect, connivent around the ovary. Filaments 2.5mm long, 1.5mm broad, whitish, with an orangish expanded anther connective to 2mm long, 2mm broad, glabrous. Anthers connected vertically to the filament, opening longitudinally, whitish. Bottom two anthers with a reniform nectary which fills the spur of the flower. Gland green, -3mm long, 1.5mm broad. Ovary green, 3mm long, 2mm in diameter, cylindric-ovoid, glabrous, unilocular, with many ovules. Stigma greenish, 1mm broad, truncate.

Viola missouriensis calyx

Viola missouriensis flower

Flowering - March - May.

Habitat - Low rich alluvial soils or woodlands, ravine bottoms, low thickets, along or near streams.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This Violet can be found throughout Missouri. The plant can be identified by its triangular-cordate leaves, lack of stems, and lilac flowers. The flowers are lighter in color than the more common Viola papilionacea Pursh and Viola sororia Willd.

Photographs taken at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, Boone County, MO., 4-18-04.


Back