Viola sagittata (Arrow-leaved Violet)
|Also known as:||Arrowhead Violet|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; open woods, fields, meadows|
|Bloom season:||April - June|
|Plant height:||4 to 8 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Single flower at the end of a smooth or hairy but otherwise naked stem. Flowers are ¾ to 1 inch across, irregular with the two upper petals somewhat elongated and aligned side-by-side, the 3 lower petals with dense tufts of white hairs (bearded) at the throat, the two laterals angled towards the lower petal. Petals are deep blue-violet to purple, white at the base, the lower petal is almost half white with dark purple venation and forms a rounded spur at the back that projects past the sepals but does not go beyond the stalk. A mature plant can be densely flowered.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are all basal, arrowhead shaped, 1½ to 4 inches long, usually at least 1.5 times long as wide, often with fine hairs around the edges (ciliate). Early leaves are more like a rounded triangle, with shallowly toothed edges and spreading out horizontally. Primary leaves become erect and narrow, the basal lobes developing pointed barb-like teeth extending abruptly from the edges. Leaf stalks and leaves can be smooth or hairy,
Notes:A species of moist open woods, Arrow-leaved Violet can respond quickly from the seed bank following a fire. Populations diminsh as other successional plants re-establish and the seed bank once more waits for another fire event. It is most easily distinguished from other violets by the shape of the leaves.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka county on a private restoration in Lexington and behind Rice Creek Elementary following fire.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?