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Viola tenuisecta Zumwalde & H.E. Ballard. Shale Barren Violet. Phen: Chasmogamous flower Mar-Apr; chasmogamous fruit Apr-May; cleistogamous fruit May-Aug. Hab: Dry to seasonally moist less acidic sandy soils and rock outcrops in shaded microsites in and around shale barrens. Dist: Endemic to shale barrens slopes of Alleghany and Bath Counties in w. VA; should be sought in adjacent WV.

ID notes: This species is most similar overall to other homophyllous cut-leaved taxa in the Pedatifida and Subsinuata species groups, and especially similar to V. pedatifida. Besides its glabrous foliage, leaf dimorphism, and more extensively dissected summer leaf blades, this species differs from V. brittoniana and V. pedatifida in its broader acute to obtuse eciliate sepals, short entire auricles, glabrous spurred petal, finely spotted cleistogamous capsule on a very short declined peduncle, and gray to brown unspotted or minutely spotted seeds; and can be distinguished from V. baxteri and V. subsinuata by its eciliate sepals, finely spotted cleistogamous capsule on a very short declined peduncle, and gray to brown unspotted or minutely spotted seeds.

Origin/Endemic status: Endemic

Taxonomy Comments: Distinctive in its glabrous foliage and tri- to tetraternately dissected summer leaf blades with bicolorous surfaces. This species initiates chasmogamous flowering and ends it weeks earlier than others growing on the shale barrens slopes, indicating significant reproductive isolation. A remarkable two-county endemic, one of the rarest North American violets and also one of the rarest shale barrens species.

Synonymy: = Ballard, Kartesz, & Nishino (2023); < Viola pedatifida G.Don – FNA6, K2, K4, Va

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Wetland Indicator Status:

  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont: FACU (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)
  • Great Plains: FACU (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)
  • Midwest: FACU (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)
  • Northcentral & Northeast: FACU (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)

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image of plant© Bethany Zumwalde | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Bethany Zumwalde | Original Image ⭷

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