Thursday, February 02, 2012

Common Blue Violet (Viola papilionacea)



Common Blue Violet
(probably Viola papilionacea)

This particular Common Blue Violet (Viola papilionacea or Viola sororia) is ALWAYS our first spring wildflower. It grows in a microclimate, a crack in a large, south-facing rock. In the winter, leafless trees allow much sunshine to warm the rock, but it's shaded in the summer so the violet doesn't get too dry and die. I first found this little violet about ten years ago. It's bloomed every year since, though our unusually mild winter this year means it's blooming a lot earlier.

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.




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9 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a little beauty. Having one open so early is a treat. I see it is tucked into a protected corner. It is always fun to see where these little beauties pop up.

KaHolly said...

Very sweet, indeed!! A true harbinger of spring. Yet, it's only Feb.!

TexWisGirl said...

oh, that is gorgeous! reminds me of springtime in Wisconsin...

Rambling Woods said...

I didn't know that about violets...I have a couple that show up in the back yard every spring, but not for a couple of months yet, but this has been a very snow free warmer than usual winter...I didn't know about the owl snow angel until I asked someone with knowledge of owls.. it's amazing that they can hear that noise...Thank you for linking to NN Marvin...Michelle

Willard said...

Interesting, information. If I recall correctly they are usually seen here from late April through May, but I'll have to pay close attention this year. They may come out much earlier because of the warmer than usual weather.

Celeste said...

Purple! My favourite :) What a little gem tucked snug between the rocks. The beauty is in the details.

jewaicious said...

What a little beauty.

Leora said...

We have violets in our backyard come spring - yours looks wonderful in its little spot in the rock.

Eric Hunt said...

Lovely shot of the violet growing in the stone wall.

I believe this is Viola sororia, rather than Viola bicolor (the currently accepted name for V. papilionacea).

Both are out in full force here in Little Rock.