Monday, April 4, 2016

Native Species Profile - Common Blue Violet

It is not unusual to find a few wildflowers blooming in Mid-Michigan during the month of March, but now that April is upon us the wildflower season can begin in earnest.  One of the earliest wildflowers that I can expect to find is the Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia).

It is almost impossible to miss the blooming season for this species.  The Common Blue Violet often begins blooming in Mid-Michigan as early as March and continues flowering until June. It can be found growing in a variety of habitats including moist woodlands, the edge of wetlands, and gardens.   Because it spreads both by seed and rhizomes, Common Blue Violet can be fairly aggressive and often takes over patches of lawn.

Common Blue Violet plants grow 4 to 10 inches tall.  Flowers and leaves grow on separate stalks.  The leaves grow in a basal cluster with flower stalks growing in the center of the cluster.  The leaves are roughly heart shaped.

Common Blue Violet flowers vary in color from deep violet to a pale lavender.  There is also a white form.  The flowers consist of five petals - a pair of upper petals, a pair of lateral (side) petals, and a single lower petal that acts as a landing pad for insects.  The five petals form a narrow throat that forces insects along a specific path to reach the flower's nectar - being pollinated in the process.  The two lateral petals are often hairy near the flower's throat.  The petals also have dark lines called nectar guides that direct pollinators through the flower's throat.

Common Blue Violet can be found in every state east of line running from eastern North Dakota down to Texas.

Basic Information

Common Blue Violet
Viola sororia
Height:  4-10” tall 

Habitat:  moist woodlands, gardens, lawns

Flower Color:  deep violet to lavender, white

Bloom Time:  March – June

No comments:

Post a Comment