Viola cucullata (Marsh Blue Violet)
|Also known as:||Hooded Violet|
|Habitat:||shade, sun; bogs and wet places|
|Bloom season:||April - June|
|Plant height:||4 to 6 inches|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Single flower at the end of a long naked stem usually held well above the leaves at peak bloom. Flowers are about 1 inch across, irregular with 5 light blue to violet petals, white at the base, sometimes all white. At the base of the lateral petals are short hairs (beards), typically under 1 mm long that are club shaped with a conspicuously swollen tip. The lower spurred petal is beardless, has darker blue veins, and is typically shorter than the two lateral petals.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are all basal, hairless, with small rounded teeth around the edges. Mature leaves are heart-shaped and can be up 4 inches wide, tapering to a blunt or rounded tip. Stems are hairless. It typically forms colonies from short branched rhizomes.
Marsh Blue Violet can thrive in both sun or shade as long as the site is moist. The plant structure at peak bloom, with flowers rising well above the leaves, is similar to Northern Bog Violet (Viola nephrophylla). Prior to this stage it may more closely resemble Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia). All 3 species have only basal leaves and bearded blue-violet flowers, but the hairs on V. cucullata are distinctly different—short and stubby compared to the others.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County and at Prairie Resto's Scandia retail store.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?