Viola conspersa (Dog Violet)

Plant Info
Also known as: American Dog Violet, Alpine Violet, Labrador Violet
Genus:Viola
Family:Violaceae (Violet)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:shade, sun; woods, meadows, along streams
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:1 to 8 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: irregular

[photo of flowers] Flowers are a typical 5-petaled violet shape, ½ to ¾ inch long, pale lavender to light blue fading to white at the base of the petals. The lower petal has dark purple lines and the 2 side petals each have a tuft of white hair (a “beard”) at the base. There is a longer than average spur at the back of the lower petal that curves up behind the flower. Each flower is at the end of a long naked stalk that arises from a leaf axil; each plant has a few to several flowers on branching or multiple stems. A plant can start blooming when it is less than 1 inch tall.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] There are both basal leaves and stem leaves. Both are mostly round or kidney to heart shaped with scalloped edges, averaging about 1 inch across. Leaf color is light green to yellowish green but may be purplish on the underside. On the main stem where the leaf and flower stems join is a broad leaf-like appendage (stipule) with mostly serrated edges. Leaves and stem are hairless.

Notes:

There are somewhere around 10 species of blue or purple violets that grow in Minnesota. Two distinguishing features in identifying them are whether the flowers and leaves come from the same stem, and whether the side petals are bearded. Both are true for Dog Violet. Very similar is Sand Violet (Viola adunca), which has darker blue-violet flowers, a longer spur, narrower stipules, has darker green leaves and may be hairy to varying degrees. An alternate scientific name for Dog Violet is Viola Labradorica, but the accepted name in Minnesota is Viola conspersa.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Wild Ones Twin Cities Chapter

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Shop for native seeds and plants at PrairieMoon.com!
  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds
  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants
  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water

More photos

Photos taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.



(required)




Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.