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This interesting species belongs to a small group of violets with blue-violet flowers, nectar spurs of above average length, and flowering leafy stems (as opposed to violets with basal leaves and flowers on separate non-leafy stalks). Aside from the Dog Violet, other species in this group include Viola labradorica (Alpine Violet), Viola adunca (Hook-Spurred Violet), and Viola walteri (Walter's Violet). While the Dog Violet has pale blue-violet flowers, these other violets often have medium to dark blue-violet flowers (among other minor differences). The Alpine Violet and Hook-Spurred Violet have a more northern boreal distribution, while Walter's Violet is more southern and Appalachian. None of these three species have been found in Illinois. Some authorities have proposed reducing the status of the Dog Violet to a variety of either the Alpine Violet or the Hook-Spurred Violet.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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