Viola lanceolata (Lance-leaved Violet)
|Also known as:||Bog White Violet, Strap-leaved Violet|
|Habitat:||sun; sandy soil; bogs, swamps, fens, wet meadows, along shores|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||2 to 6 inches|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Slightly irregular flowers are about ½ inch across with 5 white petals that are pale yellow at the base. The 2 side petals are smooth (not “bearded”); the lower petal has numerous reddish purple lines. A plant may have multiple flowers, each at the end of a naked stem.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are basal only, mostly narrowly elliptic to lance shaped, 1 to 6 inches long and to 1 inch wide, with a blunt or rounded tip and tapering at the base. The edges have very shallow, rounded teeth. Leaf and flower stems are hairless and often reddish.
According to the DNR, Lance-leaved Violet was listed as a State Special Concern species in 1984 and elevated to Threatened in 1996, due to habitat loss. Most of its natural habitat is within the Anoka Sandplain, and has been largely destroyed by development. This species is easy to ID by the leaves. There are 3 recognized varieties of V. lanceolata in North America, with var. lanceolata the most common and found in Minnesota.
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Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?