Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Threepart Violet - Viola tripartita   Elliott
Members of Violaceae:
Members of Viola with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Violales » Family Violaceae
DistributionWeakley (2020) has split Viola glaberrima (and also the poorly known V. tenuipes) out from the former V. tripartita. Thus, this species account represents the former V. tripartita var. tripartita only. There are specimen records for 90-100 years ago from Buncombe and Henderson counties, and another from Jackson County (2004), but there seem to be no more recent records. At any rate, found only in the southern Mountains.

This species (strict sense) ranges from southwestern NC and adjacent TN, south only to northern GA and northeastern AL; disjunct to southern OH.
AbundanceVery rare. The NCNHP in 2022 has placed this taxon -- considered as a full species by Weakley (2022), as he has V. glaberrima split off as a good species -- on its Watch List (W7); however, it deserves to be tracked as Significantly Rare.
HabitatThis species requires high pH soil, typically growing in rich soils of Rich Cove Forests.
PhenologyBlooms from late March to May, and fruits from April to June.
IdentificationThis is the only yellow-flowered violet with divided leaves, with 3 segments, but with jagged margins. It has a stem to about 8-9 inches tall, with the 3-7 leaves emerging from the upper part of the stem, usually near the same place. All other yellow-flowered violets have orbicular, ovate, hastate, or other shapes of undivided leaves.
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley (2020) follows Ballard in his treatment of the Viola taxonomy in his new flora. Most records of Viola "tripartita" (broad sense) in NC are now V. glaberrima.

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)Threepart Yellow Violet
State RankS1
Global RankG5T3 [G3]
State StatusW7 [SR]
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorriePhoto taken in montane northwestern GA, April 2015. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC

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