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Viola sororia

Viola sororia Willd.

Viola sororia Willd. f. priceana (Pollard) Cooperr.

Viola floridana Brainerd

Viola latiuscula Greene

Viola papilionacea Pursh p.p.

Viola papilionacea Pursh var. priceana (Pollard) Alexander

Viola palmata L. var. sororia (Willd.) Pollard

Viola priceana Pollard

Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderMalpighialesA broad group encompassing 16,000 species
FamilyViolaceaeViolet family
GenusViolaMeans sweet-scented flower
SpeciessororiaSisterly, very closely related

About plant names...

These hardy, abundant perennials poke up early in the spring. They are common in woods, thickets, stream banks, pastures, and disturbed soils. They seem happiest in partial shade, but if there is enough dampness in the soil, they tolerate full sun.

Plants: Plants are low to the ground, about 4-8" (10-20 cm) high and 6" (15 cm) around.

Leaves: Leaves are up to 3" (7.6 cm) long, usually closer to 1" (2.5 cm), on long petioles (stems). They are usually dark green, but may appear lighter and more yellowish under full sun. They are roughly heart-shaped, with crenate or serrate edges. Some are hairy; some aren’t.

Flowers: Flowers are a shade of violet or blue, rarely white, and even more rarely bicolored. They are about ¾-1" (1.9-2.5 cm) in size, have a total of five petals, and have bilateral symmetry. That’s fancy botanist talk for mirror images: if you cut the flower in half vertically, the two sides are mirror images of each other. There are two petals on top, and two lower side petals, and a bottom petal that serves as a landing strip for visiting pollinators. The two side petals have white hairs near the center of the flower. Flowers appear from March to June. They tend to droop. Flowers and leaves are on separate stems. Although the genus, Viola, means sweet-scented, common violets have no detectable odor.

Fruits: Three-part whitish seed capsules dry and explode, flinging lots of seeds.

Edibility: Violet leaves are high in vitamins A and C, and are cooked as greens or added raw to salads. Flowers can be used to make candies or jellies.

Online References:

Viola sororia at Illinois Wildflowers

Viola sororia at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Viola sororia on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Viola sororia on gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org

Viola sororia on eFloras

Viola sororia on michiganflora.net

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

4/22/2016 · Wildflower Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 4 × 3½" (9.9 × 8.7 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

5/6/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

4/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 3 × 3½" (8.3 × 9.3 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

5/6/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

5/6/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

4/8/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, Sparks, MD
≈ 9 × 8" (21 × 19 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

5/16/2014 · Acton Arboretum, Action, MA
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

4/8/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, Sparks, MD
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

5/7/2013 · J. Harry Rich Dirt Road, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 4" (11 × 10 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

4/23/2016 · Big Tree/Porcupine Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, MA
≈ 7 × 5" (17 × 12 cm)

Viola sororia description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 9 Jul 2019.

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Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

7/3/2019 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

5/6/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

4/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 9" (18 × 22 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

5/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

4/8/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, Sparks, MD
≈ 6 × 4½" (16 × 11 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

4/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

4/28/2016 · Old Long Loop, Beaver Brook State Park, Hollis, NH

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

7/3/2019 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

5/6/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

5/7/2013 · J. Harry Rich Dirt Road, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 5" (14 × 13 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

5/16/2014 · Acton Arboretum, Action, MA
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

4/8/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, Sparks, MD
≈ 11 × 10" (28 × 26 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

5/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 2½ × 1¾" (6.3 × 5 cm)

Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet, Woolly Blue Violet, Common Wood Violet, Broad-leaved Wood Violet)

4/8/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

Range: Zones 3-7:

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