Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Arrowleaf Violet - Viola sagittata   Aiton
Members of Violaceae:
Members of Viola with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Violales » Family Violaceae
DistributionEssentially statewide, but seemingly absent from the easternmost counties; only one record known east of Hertford, Martin, and Sampson counties (for Onslow County).

This is an Eastern species, ranging from eastern Canada south to GA and eastern TX.
AbundanceFairly common across the Mountains, Piedmont, and most of the western and central Coastal Plain; very rare in the eastern Coastal Plain, and seemingly absent in the far eastern counties.
HabitatThis species favors most, open ground -- wet meadows and pastures, damp edges of woods and powerline clearings, etc. However, it does grow in upland places, where sunny and open. This is a species mainly of acidic soils.
PhenologyBlooms from late March into May, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is an acaulescent species, with violet-blue flowers on naked stalks, and all leaves basal and typically rather erect. The leaves are undivided, with the leaf shape oblong, often twice as long as wide; some populations contain small lateral lobes. The main separation character from the very common and widespread V. sororia and several others is that the leaf blade is distinctly longer than wide, as opposed to almost as wide as long. Also, the tip of the leaf is drawn out and tapered, and opposed to convex and more rounded in V. sororia, V. cucullata, and V. hirsutula. Other violets grow in rich forests, wetland forests, or other habitats.
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley (2018) considered it with two varieties -- var. sagittata (formerly V. sagittata and V. emarginata) and var. ovata (formerly V. fimbriatula). However, Weakley (2020) has split back out these three, as did RAB (1968) -- V. fimbriatula, an upland species of the western parts of the state; V. emarginata, an upland species somewhat statewide but more frequent in the Piedmont; and V. sagittata, a mainly wetland species of wide distribution.

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; we will follow updated editions of Weakley in recognizing them.
Other Common Name(s)Arrowhead Violet
State RankS5 *
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACW link
USACE-empFAC link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, dry-mesic soil, Apr 2015. RichmondPhoto_natural

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