Viola lanceolata (Lance-leaved Violet)
|Also known as:||Bog White Violet, Strap-leaved Violet|
|Habitat:||sun; sandy or peaty soil; bogs, swamps, fens, wet meadows, wet depressions, along shores|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||2 to 6 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Irregular 5-petaled white flower up to ½ inch (to 12 mm) long at the end of a long naked stalk usually held above or among the leaves at peak bloom. Petals are tinged greenish-yellow at the base; the 2 lateral petals lack tufts of hair (not bearded). The lower petal has numerous dark reddish to purple veins radiating from the center, and forms a short spur at the back.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are all basal; color is medium green. Mature leaves are 1 to 6+ inches (to 15+ cm) long, to 1 inch (to 29 mm) wide, mostly 3 to 6 times as long as wide, narrowly lance-elliptic, blunt to pointed at the tip, tapering at the base, sometimes abruptly near the base. Leaf edges are typically very shallowly toothed, the teeth rounded and tend to be widely spaced. Surfaces and leaf stalks are hairless. Plants form colonies from above ground horizontal stems (stolons) produced in summer.
Both petalled (chasmogamous) and petal-less, self-pollinating (cleistogamous) flowers produce fruit, in an ovoid capsule up to ½ inch (4 to 12 mm) long, initially green, erect when mature and drying light brown.
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. It hybridizes with several other white violets, but any hybrids in Minnesota are not well documented.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Lance-leaved Violet plant
- Lance-leaved Violet plants
- a loose colony of Lance-leaved Violet
- leaves can be abruptly tapered near the base, 3 to 6+ times as long as wide
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?