Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Prostrate Blue Violet - Viola walteri    House
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Section 6 » Order Violales » Family Violaceae
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AuthorHouse
DistributionWidely scattered in the Piedmont and southern mountains, though found mainly in the southeastern Piedmont and the southern mountains.

This is a Southeastern species, ranging from VA and southern OH south to northern FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceVery rare to rare in the southern portions of the Piedmont and mountains. Though recorded from 10 counties, the NCNHP ranks it as S1 instead of the expected S2, which it does for the similar V. appalachiensis (with records from just four counties). However, there are very few recent records for this species. The website editors suggest a State Rank of S1S2. This is a Significantly Rare species.
HabitatThis is a species that requires high pH soil, usually in rich hardwood forests. It is mostly found in Basic Mesic Forests, less so in Rich Cove Forests. It can occasionally be found in drier forests, but always over mafic or calcareous rocks.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
PhenologyBlooms from March to May, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis species and V. appalachiensis are odd violets, as they are creeping or trailing and not erect. Each is a bit mat-forming, rooting at nodes. Each has quite rounded leaf blades, with cordate bases. This species has noticeably densely pubescent leaf blades, and they are gray-green to pale green except for the darker green veins; V. appalachiensis has essentially glabrous leaf blades, which are evenly green above. The flowers are standard ones for the genus, being violet-blue in color. You should note that it can be somewhat difficult to tell if a plant is crawling along the ground, as compared with other species that do not yet do grow in fairly dense clusters. The quite rounded leaves at the apex, about as wide as long, might be the first clue you have this unusual species, along with the pale green leaves contrasting with dark green veins. If in doubt, pull on a leaf or stem to see if the stem is indeed creeping and rooted at the nodes.
Taxonomic CommentsV. appalachiensis was formerly included within V. walteri. When that taxon was listed as a variety, this taxon was named as V. walteri var. walteri.

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, which follows Weakley (2018).
Other Common Name(s)Walter's Violet
State RankS1 [S1S2]
Global RankG4G5
State StatusSR-T
US Status
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