Viola nephrophylla (Northern Bog Violet)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Violaceae (Violet)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; bogs, wet meadows, wet ditches, along streams
Bloom season:May - July
Plant height:5 to 10 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
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 flower] Solitary irregular flower at the end of a naked stem that typically rises well above the leaves. Flowers are about ¾ inch across, 5 petals deep violet to light blue, white at the base, the lateral petals with long white hairs at the base (bearded), but not usually densely hairy. The lower petal has deep blue-violet lines near the base, is hairless or has a few sparse hairs and forms a short spur at the back. The side petals thrust forward at an angle.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are all basal, hairless, have rounded teeth around the edges (crenate), kidney to heart-shaped with a rounded or blunt tip, held erect on slender hairless stems 1 to 6 inches long. Younger leaves are rarely more than 1½ inches long or wide. Mature leaves can be up 4 inches wide.


A more common species in cooler elevations of western North America, Northern Bog Violet's range extends all the way to New England. Several references note it having a preference for cold wet habitats such as bogs. But Minnesota herbarium collections are common from all over western Minnesota moist prairie, such as where our images were found. Similar species is V. cucullata, which is distinguished from all other violets by its short club-shaped hairs on the lateral petals.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in Pope County.


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

Posted by: Max - C.N.C, Washington County MN
on: 2012-04-13 22:35:45

I found a bunch of these growing in a ravine there, I have also seen them before but I don't recall the other locations, took some pictures.

Posted by: Leesa - Isanti County, Cambridge/Dalbo area
on: 2012-05-11 12:16:16

Thank you for this site! I have been trying to figure out what these flowers were. Site was easy to use, easy to find what I was looking for. Will be marked as one of my favorites!

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