Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Smooth Threepart Violet - Viola glaberrima   (Gingins) H. House
Members of Violaceae:
Members of Viola with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Family Violaceae
Author(Gingins) H. House
DistributionScattered over the Mountains and the western and central Piedmont, east to Orange County. Recently split out from V. tripartita; has typically been listed as a variety of that species.

PA and KY south to northwestern SC. Not known from TN.
AbundanceDespite specimens from 20-25 counties, this is a scarce species and in clear and strong decline in recent decades. Now very rare to rare; perhaps deserves to be on the Watch List or tracked as Significantly Rare, as there are very few recent collections. In late 2022, the NCNHP added the species to its list as Watch List (W7), with a State Rank of S1S3 owing to complete uncertainty as to how truly rare it is currently.
HabitatIt occurs essentially only on rich, high pH forested soil; mostly in Basic Mesic Forests and cove forests, on rich lower slopes and adjacent bottomlands. V. tripartita occupies the same habitats and the 2 can sometimes be found together.
PhenologyFlowers and fruits from late March to early May.
IdentificationThis is a caulescent violet, with a stem to 6-9 inches tall, and 2-4 leaves emerging near the top of the stem. These leaves are triangular and about 1.5-2 inches long and about half as wide, with a truncate or slightly cuneate base. The yellow flowers are raised slightly above the leaves. The similar V. tripartita (strict sense) has -- as the Latin name says -- leaves strongly 3-parted. V. hastata has mottled leaves above and leaves usually with hastate bases. Other yellow violets that are caulescent have leaves more heart-shaped and usually with cordate bases.
Taxonomic CommentsConsidered within V. tripartita in most recent references, either as a variety -- var. glaberrima -- or lumped completely. RAB (1968) included it as V. tripartita var. 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)Smooth Yellow Violet -- though V. eriocarpa usually is named as this.
State RankS1S3
Global RankG5T3? [G3?]
State StatusW7
US Status
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