Viola pensylvanica Michx. - Yellow Violet

Viola pensylvanica plant

Family - Violaceae

Stems - To +20cm tall, glabrous below but with some pubescence in distinct vertical lines on stem ridges, nearly hirsute above, herbaceous, from thick roots, erect to ascending.

Leaves - Basal leaves petiolate. Petiole to 15cm long, with erect hairs in vertical lines. Blade cordate to reniform, crenate-serrate, 4-5cm long, +3cm broad, glabrous. Cauline leaves with shorter petioles, stipulate. Stipules lanceolate, oblique at base, 5-7mm broad, 1-3cm long, with a few coarse teeth, glabrous. Petioles more densely pubescent than basal petioles. Blades cordate, acute, shallow coarse serrate, glabrous above, pubescent on veins below, 4-5cm broad, 4cm long.

Inflorescence - Single axillary flowers. Peduncles sparsely to moderately pubescent, 6-7cm long, 1.1mm in diameter.

Flowers - Petals yellow, with some brownish-black striping, to 1.3cm long. Lateral petals bearded at throat. Lowest petal saccate at base. Stamens 4, with filaments connate around ovary. Stigma globose with tufts of hairs from opposing sides. Ovary 1-locular. Placentation parietal. Sepals 5, green with lighter margins, lanceolate, +/-8mm long, 3mm broad, glabrous. Margins minutely ciliate at base. Fruits ovoid to globose, lanate.

Viola pensylvanica flower

Viola pensylvanica calyxCalyx.

Viola pensylvanica fruitsFruits.

Flowering - March - May.

Habitat - On rich wooded slopes, thickets.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - You can't miss this plant in the wild. Like most of the Violets, it blooms early and shows up well against the dark forest floor. The corolla is yellow which makes for easy identification in the wild.
Steyermark lists two varieties for the plant. Variety leiocarpa (Fern. & Wieg.) Fern. has glabrous fruits. Variety pensylvanica has pubescent fruits. Both varieties are common in the state with the var. leiocarpa being a bit more frequent.

Photographs taken in the Ozark Scenic Riverways, Shannon County, MO., 5-24-03, and at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, Boone County, MO., 3-27-04.