Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

Colors

Data mode

Key to Viola, Key D: Acaulescent violets lacking stolons, with lobed leaves, and blue, violet, or purple flowers (white in rare albinos, white with heavy blue-gray eyespot in V. communis [V. priceana], whitish with purple eyespot in V. floridana [“peninsular Florida” variant])

1 All petals glabrous within; corolla concolorous blue or lower three petals blue and upper pair purple-black; stipules long-adnate to petiole; rhizome erect, barrel-like; cleistogamous flowers absent.
..2 Largest leaf blades oblanceolate to obspatulate in outline, apically toothed or incised; [Fall-line Sandhills region of NC south to GA]
..2 Largest leaf blades ovate to reniform in outline, pedately or bi- to triternately divided.
....3 Largest leaf blades bi- to triternately divided; [sw. NJ and se. PA to w. MD, south to wc. VA and se. WV]
....3 Largest leaf blades pedately divided; [widespread]
1 Lateral petals bearded within, sometimes the spurred petal also; corolla concolorous except for expanded white area from the throat in a few species; stipules free; rhizome horizontal or ascending, sometimes branching, not barrel-like; cleistogamous flowers produced.
......4 Plant homophyllous, all blades lobed or dissected (plants with largest leaf blades shallowly lobed are frequent de novo hybrids between species producing deeply divided leaves and V. sororia and other species with unlobed leaf blades; they will not key readily and must be inferred by association with the parent species).
........5 Petioles glabrous, leaf blades sparsely appressed-hirtellous on veins, margins appressed-ciliolate; spurred petal densely bearded; lowest sepals lanceolate, sharply acute; auricles prominent, elongating in fruit to 6 mm; cleistogamous capsules green drying tan, unspotted, on erect peduncles nearly or fully as long as petioles; seeds 1.3–2.0 × 0.9–1.3 mm, narrowly obovoid, medium brown to orange-brown, unspotted.
..........6 Largest leaf blades narrowly ovate to ovate in outline, cordate at base, biternately divided into 7 or 9 ultimate lanceolate segments, terminal ultimate segment of terminal primary division commonly distinctly broader and well surpassing lateral segments; calyx eciliate or auricles infrequently irregularly ciliolate; seeds 1.3–1.9 × 0.9–1.3 mm; [sandy or peaty soils of brackish marshes, streambanks and ditches, Atlantic Coastal Plain]
..........6 Largest leaf blades reniform in outline, broadly rounded to subcordate at base, triternately divided into (13)17-25 narrowly linear ultimate segments, terminal ultimate segment of terminal primary division neither distinctly broader nor longer than lateral segments; calyx usually ciliate; seeds 1.7-2.0 × 1.1-1.3 mm; [blacksoil prairies and savanna openings of Midwest to Great Plains and Southwest, disjunct in s. ON and n. OH]
........5 Foliage glabrous or petioles and at least lower surface of leaf blades hirsute, margins often ciliate; spurred petal glabrous; lowest sepals oblong to ovate, obtuse to rounded at apex (lance- to ovate-triangular and acuminate in V. monacanora); auricles short and rounded, not elongating in fruit; cleistogamous capsules purple-spotted, on prostrate or arching peduncles shorter than petioles; seeds 1.6–2.4 × 1.1–1.7 mm, various but not medium brown to orange-brown, mostly spotted or blotched.
............7 Foliage glabrous (petioles uncommonly sparsely hirsute in Viola species 4); calyx eciliate; lowest sepals acuminate [restricted to montane NC and/or VA].
..............8 Largest leaf blades in chasmogamous flower ovate and deeply bi- to subtriternately divided, leaf blades in fruit orbicular to reniform and tri- to tetraternately dissected into 17–27 narrowly linear ultimate lobes, these narrowly rounded at apex, margins entire, primary divisions distinctly constricted at base into a very slender elongate "petiolule"; lower surface of blade distinctly paler than upper, not purple-tinged; lowest sepals broadly acute to obtuse; seeds 2.2–2.4 × 1.1–1.7 mm, pinkish-gray or gray to olive-gray with dense minute raised blackish spots; [dry silty soils of woodland borders surrounding shale barrens in Alleghany and Bath Cos., VA]
..............8 Largest leaf blades in chasmogamous flower narrowly ovate and palmatifid, leaves in fruit ovate, biternately divided into 9–11(13) usually slightly falcate ultimate lobes, these becoming asymmetrically angulate at apex in fruit, outer margins of lobes with 1-3 incurved teeth, primary divisions not narrowed or constricted at base; lower surface of leaf blade not distinctly paler than upper, purple-tinged; lowest sepals acuminate; seeds 1.8–2.1 × 1.2–1.4, dark brown with dense raised black reticulations; [moist loam soils of rich mesic rocky woodlands in Blue Ridge Mountains of w. VA and nw. NC]
............7 Foliage moderately to densely hirsute; calyx ciliate; lowest sepals ovate-lanceolate to broadly ovate, obtuse to broadly rounded (sometimes acute in V. baxteri).
................9 Largest leaf blades biternately to subtriternately divided into 9–13(15) narrowly linear-lanceolate lobes < 3 mm wide (in chasmogamous flower), the lateral second-order lobes of the terminal primary division attached medially, second-order lobes usually with a prominent slender spreading sharply acute tooth or short lobe on each side; primary divisions commonly narrowed at base to slender "petiolules"; foliage and peduncles not purple-tinged; lowest sepals acute or obtuse; seeds ivory, unspotted or occasionally with small weak light brown blotches or streaks; [limestone prairies and prairie-like openings, lower elevations in e. Great Lakes region, w. NY to sw. Ontario and se. MI, south to sw. PA, sw. OH and ne. IN]
................9 Largest leaf blades (sub)biternately divided into 7 or 9 broadly linear or lanceolate lobes > 3 mm wide (in chasmogamous flower), the second-order lobes of the terminal primary division attached medially or basally, second-order lobes entire or with 1–2 inconspicuous short appressed or incurved teeth on each side; primary divisions not distinctly narrowed at base (distinctly narrowed in “Chapel Hill” variant); lower surface of leaf blades, petioles and peduncles often purple-tinged; lowest sepals obtuse to rounded; seeds light brown with small prominent dark orange-brown streaks, or light to medium gray with small prominent darker gray blotches or streaks; [dry-mesic woodlands, not consistently associated with limestone, widely distributed in Appalachian Mtns and e. Piedmont, New England south to n. AL and se. TN].
..................10 Leaf blades subternately divided, secondary lobes on terminal primary division rhombic-lanceolate, divergent, lateral primary divisions rhombic in outline, all distinctly narrowed into a short “petiolule” at base, all lobes with an additional slender elongate lobe on outside margin (leaf vaguely resembling Anemone multifida); [Piedmont of c. NC]
..................10 Leaf blades biternately divided, not usually narrowed into a distinct “petiolule” at base, secondary lobes of terminal primary division erect or spreading, lobes entire or with a small subappressed tooth on outside margin; [Appalachian Mountain highlands and n. Piedmont]
......4 Plant heterophyllous, producing leaf blades with lobes, coarse teeth or incisions during chasmogamous flowering and cleistogamous fruiting, and undivided leaf blades in very early spring and late autumn (often retaining one or more undivided blades).
....................11 At least some petioles prominently winged.
......................12 Foliage densely hirtellous, uniform green; at least the outer leaves spreading or prostrate; petioles shorter than (in chasmogamous flower) to 2 × longer (in fruit) than blades; largest leaf blades broadly elliptical to narrowly oblong-ovate or narrowly ovate-triangular in outline, in fruit developing 1–2(3) coarse apically oriented basal teeth on each side; peduncle hirtellous; calyx ciliate; corolla purple, petals broadly rounded, spurred petal not medially compressed; peduncle of cleistogamous capsule declined; seeds 1.4–1.9 × 0.9–1.3 mm, medium brown with small darker brown spots
......................12 Foliage glabrous or surfaces of leaf blades sparsely appressed-hirsute, blue-green, lower surface of blades, petioles and peduncles flushed with purple; leaves erect; petioles > 2 × as long as leaf blades; largest leaf blades narrowly ovate-triangular, triangular or deltate-triangular in outline, in flower or fruit developing 2–4 divergent narrowly elliptical to oblong lobes or slender linear processes on each side; peduncle glabrous; calyx eciliate; corolla violet, petals commonly emarginate, spurred petal commonly medially compressed; peduncle of cleistogamous capsule erect; seeds 1.4–2.2 × 0.9–1.5 mm, pinkish-gray to dark gray with prominent darker streaks and spots.
........................13 Largest leaf blades resembling a walkingstick insect (Diapheromera femorata), with main axis narrowly oblong-linear, each margin with 2-4 long, slender, variously bent processes scattered on basal ½ of each margin; peduncle bracts 5-10 mm long; [sc. VA and c. NC]
........................13 Largest leaf blades narrowly triangular to triangular-deltate in outline including lobes, with 2-3 basal narrowly elliptical or angulate oblong lobes on each side; peduncle bracts < 5 mm long; [Atlantic Coastal Plain and Piedmont].
..........................14 Largest leaf blades broadly triangular-deltate in outline, terminal primary division excluding lobes lanceolate to linear-oblong, commonly with a short divergent angulate lanceolate to oblong submedial lobe on each side, each lateral primary division 2-3-cleft or with 2-3 lanceolate or angulate oblong lobes; [Piedmont of c. and w. NC]
..........................14 Largest leaf blades triangular to triangular-deltate in outline, terminal primary division triangular and unlobed, each lateral primary division with 2-3 broad triangular basal lobes; [Atlantic Coastal Plain and Piedmont]
....................11 Petioles not prominently winged.
............................15 Largest leaf blades distinctly longer than broad (blade length:width ratio > 1.3).
..............................16 Leaves erect in life; leaf blades narrowly elliptical or ovate-lanceolate with small basal teeth or lobes during chasmogamous flower, sagittate or lance-triangular with larger slender basal teeth or linear-falcate lobes during fruit, teeth or lobes ≤ 1/4 length of the midrib; foliage glabrous or (more commonly) sparsely to moderately hirtellous; lowest sepals linear-lanceolate to lance-triangular; spurred petal densely bearded within; [inhabiting upland or wetland sites in dry to seasonally moist acidic sandy soils in sand prairies and oak barrens, interdunal swales, and lakeshores, widespread throughout much of e. North America, mostly absent from Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains]
..............................16 Leaves erect or widely spreading in life; leaf blades narrowly ovate-triangular to narrowly ovate or broadly oblong-lanceolate, lateral lobes short and rounded (in V. pedatiloba), short and angulate during chasmogamous flower but elongating to ≥ 1/4 length of the midrib in fruit (in V. edulis), or variously short and elliptical or longer and linear and ≥ 1/4 length of the midrib (in V. viarum); foliage strictly glabrous; lowest sepals linear-lanceolate to ovate-triangular; spurred petal glabrous or sparsely bearded within; [diverse substrates of bottomland sites along streams and rivers, Atlantic and Gulf Coast or central and lower Midwest].
................................17 Leaves ascending to erect in life; leaf blades ovate-triangular to narrowly ovate, slender lateral lobes already 1/4–1/2 midrib length during chasmogamous flower; lowest sepals linear-lanceolate to lanceolate; spurred petal sparsely bearded within; [thin alluvial soils amid limestone gravel or rubble or cracks in limestone bedrock along streams and rivers mainly in the n. Ozarks and Missouri River drainage of the central and lower Midwest]
................................17 Leaves widely spreading in life; leaf blades narrowly ovate-triangular or broadly oblong-lanceolate, lateral lobes short and rounded (in V. pedatiloba) or short and angulate during chasmogamous flower and elongating during fruit (in V. edulis); lowest sepals ovate-triangular; spurred petal glabrous within; [floodplains of streams and rivers along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains]
..................................18 Leaf blades narrowly ovate-triangular in chasmogamous flower, broadening to ovate-triangular in cleistogamous fruit; lateral lobes angulate, marginal dentition incurved-serrate; seeds brown with dense minute black spots or reticulations; [e. Atlantic Coastal Plain]
..................................18 Leaf blades broadly oblong-lanceolate; lateral lobes rounded, marginal dentition prominently crenate; seeds blackish; [w. side of Mississippi embayment in e.-c. AR, se. LA]
............................15 Largest leaf blades slightly longer than broad to broader than long (blade length:width ratio < 1.3).
....................................19 Foliage glabrate, puberulent or hirsute (occasionally essentially glabrous in V. stoneana); calyx eciliate or ciliate; lowest sepals various; auricles short and rounded and not elongating in fruit (prominent and weakly elongating in fruit in V. stoneana); cleistogamous capsule finely to heavily purple-spotted or -blotched, on initially prostrate peduncle arching upward just before dehiscence (peduncle suberect in V. stoneana).
......................................20 Largest lobed leaf blades biternately divided, the terminal primary division with lateral lobes.
........................................21 Central and lateral lobes of terminal primary division rhombic-lanceolate, lateral lobes inserted well above the base of the central lobe, widely divergent; base of terminal and lateral primary divisions usually constricted to a slender elongate "petiolule"; foliage essentially glabrous, or petioles and lower surface of leaf blades sparsely hirsute and margins of blades sparsely ciliolate; calyx eciliate; lowest sepals lance-triangular, acuminate; seeds ivory to tan or light gray-brown, unspotted or with weak brown rectangular blotches; [rich mesic forests along "fall line" between lower Piedmont and upper Atlantic Coastal Plain, NJ south to c. VA, disjunct in ec. NC]
........................................21 Central and lateral lobes of terminal primary division linear-lanceolate, lateral lobes inserted near or just above the base of the central lobe, strongly ascending or widely divergent; base of primary divisions not constricted to a slender elongate “petiolule”; petioles and lower surface of leaf blades moderately to densely hirsute, margins of blades ciliate; calyx ciliate; lowest sepals linear-lanceolate and acuminate or oblong-ovate to ovate and obtuse to rounded; seeds light brown to light orange-brown with small darker brown streaks or blotches; [Appalachian Mountains, or Gulf Coastal Plain and Mississippi Embayment region].
..........................................22 Lateral lobes of terminal primary division strongly ascending; lowest sepals oblong to ovate, obtuse to rounded; [Appalachian Mountains, from s. PA south to w. NC]
..........................................22 Lateral lobes of terminal primary division widely divergent; lowest sepals linear-lanceolate, acuminate; [Gulf Coastal Plain and Mississippi Embayment region, w. GA to c. AR]
......................................20 Largest lobed leaf blades pedately divided, the terminal primary division lacking lateral lobes
............................................23 Foliage glabrate or puberulent; [n. AL and n. GA, or w. Gulf Coast region and Lower Midwest].
..............................................24 Foliage puberulent; primary terminal lobe and main lobes of lateral divisions distinctly broader than any intermediary lobes; calyx eciliate; spurred petal glabrous or sparsely bearded within; [s. & w. AR to c. OK, south to se. LA and sc. TX]
..............................................24 Foliage glabrate or sparsely hirsute on petioles and lower surface of leaf blades; all lobes of primary terminal and lateral divisions approximately equal in size and shape; spurred petal glabrous within; [n. AL and n. GA]
............................................23 Foliage moderately to densely hirsute; [Ridge and Valley Province of w. VA, or widespread in eastern North America].
................................................25 Foliage puberulent or minutely puberulent; primary terminal lobe and main lobes of lateral divisions Larger leaf blades shallowly to moderately divided into 3 or 5 lobes, central lobe of terminal primary division narrowly ovate or ovate-triangular, significantly larger than lateral primary lobes or intermediary lobes between terminal and lateral primary divisions, primary divisions separated by sinuses not usually > 2/3 the distance to petiole summit (shallowly lobed plants in the range of V. palmata var. dilatata are probable de novo hybrids with V. sororia and other species with unlobed leaf blades); [ne. US and s. ONT southward into the s. Appalachian Mountains and associated uplands, mostly absent from Lower Piedmont and se. Atlantic Coastal Plain, the s. limit in the Gulf States and Lower Midwest unclear]
................................................25 Larger leaf blades deeply divided into (-) 5 or 7 lobes, lobes approximately equal in size and length, primary divisions separated by sinuses nearly or fully to petiole summit; [w. VA, or Piedmont, Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains, and Lower Midwest].
..................................................26 Uppermost lobes of lateral primary divisions (or longest axis of lateral primary divisions if not deeply cleft or divided) strongly ascending; foliage color in life gray- to medium green, lower surface of leaf blades not flushed with purple; [widespread at lower elevations of Piedmont and Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains in se. U.S, and Lower Midwest]
..................................................26 Uppermost lobes of lateral primary divisions widely divergent; foliage color in life blue-green, lower surface of leaf blades flushed with purple; [sporadic in Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian Mountains in w. VA]
....................................19 Foliage strictly or essentially glabrous; calyx eciliate; lowest sepals acute or acuminate; auricles short and not elongating in fruit, or prominent and elongating in fruit; cleistogamous capsule on erect or suberect peduncle (prostrate or arching upward in V. edulis "Gulf Coastal Plain" and V. egglestonii).
....................................................27 Largest leaf blades deeply biternately divided nearly to petiole summit into 7 or 9 lobes (biternately divided leaf blades occasionally produced by V. septemloba, which is keyed out in 21b), the terminal primary division narrowly lanceolate and not much broader than its lateral lobes or the lobes on the lateral primary divisions; lowest sepals oblong-lanceolate to ovate, obtuse to broadly rounded; auricles short and rounded, not elongating in fruit; spurred petal sparsely to densely bearded within; cleistogamous capsule unspotted, on prostrate to arching peduncle much shorter than petioles; seeds 2.2-2.7 × 1.5-1.7 mm, medium to dark brown, unspotted; [upland limestone cedar glades of Interior Highlands region, s. IN south to nw. GA and n. AL]
....................................................27 Largest leaf blades shallowly to deeply pedately divided into 3-7 (-9) lobes (biternately divided leaf blades occasionally produced by V. septemloba), the terminal primary division broadly oblong to ovate or rhombic-ovate, distinctly to much broader than any intermediary lobes between the terminal and lateral divisions; lowest sepals lanceolate to ovate-triangular, acuminate (oblong-lanceolate to ovate and obtuse to rounded in V. "Gulf Coastal Plain edulis"); auricles prominent, weakly to strongly elongating to 3 mm in fruit; spurred petal glabrous within (sparsely bearded in V. viarum, densely bearded in V. septemloba); cleistogamous capsules unspotted, on peduncles as long as or longer than the petioles (capsule heavily spotted or blotched, on prostrate or arching peduncle shorter than the petioles in V. "Gulf Coastal Plain edulis"); seeds dark bronze and unspotted, or brown with minute black spots or reticulations; [either pine savannas (V. septemloba) or bottomland sites along streams and rivers, Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains and lower Midwest Missouri River drainage]
......................................................28 Largest leaf blades moderately to deeply (3-) 5-7 (-9)-lobed, lobes elliptical, lobes divergent on blades with 5 or more lobes, lowest lobe downward-pointing; blade margins entire or subentire; spurred petal densely bearded; cleistogamous capsule unspotted, on tall erect peduncle surpassing some petioles; seeds (1.5-) 1.9-2.5 × 1.4-1.6 mm, brownish-black, unspotted; [dry to seasonally moist sand of frequently burned long-leaf pine savannas]
......................................................28 Largest leaf blades shallowly to deeply 3- to 7-lobed, lobes linear or angulate, elliptical, ovate or rhombic-ovate, lobes ascending to spreading on blades with 5 or more lobes, lacking a distinct downward-pointing lobe; blade margins incurved-serrate; spurred petal glabrous within (sparsely bearded in V. viarum); cleistogamous capsule unspotted or finely to heavily spotted or blotched with red or purple, on ascending to erect peduncle surpassing some petioles or on prostrate peduncle much shorter than petioles; seeds various; [bottomland sites in diverse substrates along rivers and streams or swamps].
........................................................29 Leaves ascending to erect in life; lowest sepals linear-lanceolate to lanceolate; spurred petal sparsely bearded within; cleistogamous capsule finely spotted with red or purple, on ascending to erect peduncle equaling or surpassing shorter petioles; [thin alluvial soils amid limestone gravel or rubble or cracks in limestone bedrock along streams and rivers, mainly in the n. Ozarks and Missouri River drainage of the central and lower Midwest]
........................................................29 Leaves widely spreading to erect in life; lowest sepals oblong to ovate-triangular; spurred petal glabrous; cleistogamous capsule unspotted or spotted, on ascending to erect peduncle equaling or surpassing petioles or on prostrate peduncle much shorter than petioles; [sandy or silty soils of floodplains, swamps and hammocks on the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain].
..........................................................30 Petioles and leaves widely spreading in life; leaf blades during chasmogamous flower with any intermediary lobes between terminal and primary divisions very short, ≤ 1/4 length of the midrib; most deeply divided leaf blades with 3-5 lobes; sepals > 2/5 length of the dehisced capsule; auricles moderately elongating to 3 mm; cleistogamous capsule unspotted, on erect peduncle; seeds brown with minute raised black spots or reticulations; [Atlantic Coastal Plain, s. MD south to se. GA]
..........................................................30 Petioles and leaves ascending in life; leaf blades during chasmogamous flower with any intermediary lobes between terminal and primary divisions mostly elongate ≥ 1/4 length of the midrib; most deeply divided leaf blades with 5-7 lobes; sepals ≤ 2/5 length of the dehisced capsule; auricles not or only weakly elongating to 1–1.5(2) mm; cleistogamous capsule finely to heavily spotted or blotched, on ascending peduncle equaling or surpassing shorter petioles or prostrate and much shorter than peduncles; seeds dark bronze and unspotted, or light brown with brown streaks or blotches; [FL and Gulf Coastal Plain].
............................................................31 Auricles weakly elongating in fruit to 1.5–3 mm; cleistogamous capsule finely spotted with reddish-purple, on strongly ascending to erect peduncle equaling or surpassing shorter petioles; seeds 1.4-1.8 × 1.0-1.2 mm, dark bronze, unspotted; [known only from type area, Jacksonville, FL]
............................................................31 Auricles not elongating in fruit, ca. 1 mm; cleistogamous capsule heavily purple-spotted or -blotched, on short initially prostrate peduncle much shorter than petioles and arching upward just prior to dehiscence; seeds 1.7-2.4 × 1.3-1.7 mm, light brown with prominent brown streaks or blotches; [FL and Gulf Coastal Plain]