Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Roundleaf Yellow Violet - Viola rotundifolia   Michaux
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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DistributionThroughout the Mountains, and along the Blue Ridge Escarpment, but not into the adjacent Piedmont foothills.

This is a Northern species, ranging from eastern Canada south to PA, and southward essentially in the Appalachians, to northern GA.
AbundanceFairly common to common in the Mountains.
HabitatThis is a species of moist to mesic montane forests but is not a species of overly rich, circumneutral soils that some other violets inhabit. It favors acidic forests such as Acidic Cove Forests, Northern Hardwoods, and various mixed conifer-hardwood forests, usually on slopes, such as on mossy banks.
PhenologyVery early for a montane wildflower, generally in March and April; fruits soon after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a familiar species and one of the easiest violets to identify. It is the only acaulescent yellow-flowered violet, as the flower is on a naked stem reaching only about 2-3 inches tall. The leaves, all basal, are very rounded, with scalloped margins, generally dark green and leathery, usually lying flat against the ground. When in bloom, the leaves are only about 1-inch long and broad, often curled and not spread flat against the ground yet, but by midsummer they are 2-3 inches long and broad. Sadly, this species has often finished blooming when many people are making their first spring walks in mountain coves in April, though the rounded leaves lying flat against the ground are easily seen later into the summer.
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 additional species; this work has now been published (see above). We will follow updated editions of Weakley in recognizing them.
Other Common Name(s)Early Yellow Violet, Roundleaf Violet
State RankS4
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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B.A. SorrieMontane north GA, Apr 2015. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
B.A. SorrieBerkshire County, MA, 1980s. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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