Viola lanceolata (Lance-leaved Violet)

Plant Info
Also known as: Bog White Violet, Strap-leaved Violet
Family:Violaceae (Violet)
Life cycle:perennial
  • State Threatened
Habitat:sun; sandy soil; bogs, swamps, fens, wet meadows, 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):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

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

[photo of flower] 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: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] 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.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a green elliptical capsule about ¼ inch long containing many small round seeds that ripen to dark 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. 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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More photos

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?

Posted by: Christel - North Washington County, Forest Lake
on: 2015-05-14 07:29:45

I have a lot of these in a hay field. Noticed them a few years ago, and in the past couple years they have spread. Very pretty. I've been slowly planting natives in an area of my back yard, and am happy that nature is helping out with these:)

Posted by: Tina - Dodge County
on: 2016-05-12 23:02:45

Found several of these along Salem creek.

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