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Description

This is a native perennial plant with the leaves and flowers emerging directly from the rhizomes, and forming a basal rosette. A typical mature plant may be 6" across and 4" high, with the flowers slightly higher than the leaves. The leaves are individually up to 3" long and 3" across (excluding the long petioles), and vary in color from yellowish green to dark green, depending on growing conditions. They are oval-ovate to orbicular-cordate in shape, and crenate or serrate along the margins. Different populations of plants can vary in the hairiness of their leaves – from nearly glabrous to conspicuously hairy or pubescent. The flowers are about ¾" across, and consist of 5 rounded petals. There are 2 upper petals, 2 lateral petals with white hairs (or beards) near the throat of the flower, and a lower petal that functions as a landing pad for visiting insects. The flowers of this form of Viola sororia are medium to dark violet. The inner throat of each flower is more or less white, from which slightly darker veins radiate outward along the petals (particularly the lower one). There is no noticeable floral scent. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring, and lasts about 1-1½ months. During the summer, cleistogamous flowers without petals produce seeds, which are flung outward by mechanical ejection from the three-parted seed capsules. The root system consists of thick, horizontally branched rhizomes; there is a tendency to form vegetative colonies. Cultivation

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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