Thursday, March 03, 2011

Common Blue Violet (Viola papilionacea)

Our homestead award for first wildflower bloom of the spring goes to a Common Blue Violet (Viola papilionacea or Viola sororia), and I am not surprised. I first found this little violet several years ago. It has garnered the first bloom of the spring award every year since. The violet is growing out of a crack in the south-facing side of a large (small house sized) rock. Sun shines on the rock face and the rock retains the sun's warmth creating a microclimate that allows this particular violet to bloom a week or more ahead of its more conventionally located kin.

Viola papilionacea is a native perennial that grows throughout most of eastern and central North America. Both flowers and leaves are highly variable. Flowers can range from white, to blue, to deep purple. They can also be variegated. The taxonomy of the plant is also questionable and some authors place the plant as a variety of V. sororia. V. pranticola is another synonym. Finally, the Common Blue Violet can hybridize with at least four other species of Viola.

Bees and other insects do sometimes visit and pollinate violets, but they have no reliable pollinators. Hence, violets also produce cleistogamous flowers, flowers that never open and are automatically self-pollinating.



K T Cat said...


TexWisGirl said...

Oh I miss these beauties from my childhood in Wisconsin! We don't see them here in Texas... Thanks for the memories!

Rambling Woods said...

I think I have some kind of violet here, but we won't see it for a while.. Lovely to see your Marvin and thank you for the well wishes.. Michelle

Pat - Arkansas said...

I do love violets; the flower, the color, the fragrance. I don't know what variety of violet I have growing rampantantly all over my yard, but I can't find it in my heart to make any effort to eradicate them; they are such beautiful little flowers, and so cheery. I've not seen any blooms here, yet. Henbit and the ubiquitous 'Spring Beauty' always beat them to the blooming stage.

I know about those 'small house size' rocks. Your part of the state has them in plenty.

Your beautiful photo reminds me of one of my favorite poems, Laurence Pratt's April Out of Stone.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Our Daughter called from Oregon today and mentioned the violets were up in her yard (they kind of grow wild at their place, scattered throughout their big lawns.) Made me homesick. One of the downsides of Florida's everlasting summer is that there are no early spring flowers.

Thanks for the look at your lovely first-to-appear one!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am always excited to see these tough little darlings in the spring.

Anonymous said...

Great photo and story. Makes the heart feel good. Thanks for sharing. Mexican Plum is blooming, henbit is everywhere, and seems like we have had dandelions blooming all winter.

MyMaracas said...

How I love wild violets. None here so far, but they'll be along soon. We have several colors in our woods.

That's a beautiful macro shot!

Caron said...

I've always remembered that in elementary school I did a report on violets and I had to draw one with a pencil and label it. Took botany in college...small wonder. How lovely!