Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Southern Woodland Violet - Viola hirsutula   Brainerd
Members of Violaceae:
Members of Viola with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Violales » Family Violaceae
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AuthorBrainerd
DistributionPresent throughout the Mountains and Piedmont, apparently not ranging into the western Coastal Plain.

This is an Eastern species with only a medium-sized range, from NY and southern IN south to northern FL and MS.
AbundanceInfrequent to fairly common; widespread but nowhere truly numerous.
HabitatThis is a forest and woodland species, growing in the shade in mesic to moist hardwood or mixed forests, typically on slopes. At times it can be found in bottomlands, but normally it prefers rich but not high pH soils.
PhenologyBlooms from late March to early May, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis species is a typical violet-blue flowered, acaulescent Viola, except for its unusual leaf colors. The flowering stalk is only about 4 inches tall, with flowers a typical violet-blue in color, with the lateral petals bearded. The leaves (all basal) are heart-shaped, with normally an obtuse (rounded) tip, about 1.5-2 inches across and long, usually pubescent on the upper surface. The leaves above are light green to silvery-green between the veins, with contrastingly dark green to at times purplish along the veins. The leaves are usually purple below. The blotched leaves, as seen from above, normally should identify it on a forest walk, though the species is seldom seen in clumps or colonies but is usually scattered over a slope.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

General note on Viola: In 2009-10 B.A. Sorrie (website map editor) went through the whole collection at NCU, annotating all specimens against those verified by experts in the genus. The range maps in RAB (1968) have been changed accordingly. More recently, H. Ballard and students are in the process of revising all Southeastern Viola, and they will recognize more species than are listed on this website, some of which are treated in Weakley (2020).
Other Common Name(s)Wood Violet, Southern Wood Violet. The common names are rather "bland" for such a distinctly patterned species (on the leaves).
State RankS3 [S4S5]
Global RankG4
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