Viola canadensis (Canadian White Violet)
|Also known as:||Canada Violet, Rugulose Violet|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; woods|
|Bloom season:||April - July|
|Plant height:||8 to 16 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Single flowers on naked stalks arising from the leaf axils. Flowers are about 1 inch across, slightly irregular with 5 white petals, distinctly yellow at the base, and dark purple lines on the lower petals. The side petals are “bearded” with tufts of short hairs. The backs of the petals are tinged purple.
Leaves and stem:
There are both basal and stem leaves, mostly heart-shaped, 2 to 4 inches long and to 3 inches wide, with scalloped or shallowly toothed edges and sharply pointed tips. The stem leaves are typically more elongated than basal leaves. There are fine hairs on leaf edges and along major veins on the underside. Stems are hairless or have a few scattered hairs and often tinged purple.
Fruit is a oval capsule up to ½ inch long and covered in short fine hairs. The capsule is initially green and hanging, turning brown and becoming erect when ripe. It splits into 3 sections and contains numerous brown seeds.
Canadian White Violet often grows in clumps. I've read it spreads easily in a garden setting. It is easily distinguished from other Minnesota white violets, all of which have much smaller flowers lacking the bright yellow spot, and have only basal leaves, no stem leaves. When not blooming the leaves may be mistaken for Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet), but the latter leaves are typically smaller, mostly wider than long, and more strongly toothed. There are 4 recognized varieties of V. canadensis in North America, with var. rugulosa found in Minnesota as well as most of Canada and the northern U.S. from Wisconsin and Illinois to the Pacific coast.
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- a clump of Canadian White Violet
- more flowers
- view from the side
- Canadian White Violet with Virginia Waterleaf and Dutchman's Breeches
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Coon Rapids, MN. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?