Viola adunca (Sand Violet)

Plant Info
Also known as: Hooked-spur Violet, Western Dog Violet, Early Blue Violet
Family:Violaceae (Violet)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; dry to moist, sandy soil; open woods, meadows
Bloom season:April - June
Plant height:3 to 6 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FAC NCNE: FACU
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] Irregular blue-violet flower about ½ long at the end of a slender stalk arising from a leaf axil. The 2 lateral petals have small tufts of white hairs at the base (bearded). The lower petal is white at the base with dark purple veins radiating from the center, and forms a long spur at the back. The spur is mostly straight but may curve upward or slightly downward. There are typically 1 to 3 flowers at the top of a stem, rising above the leaves.

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

[photo of leaves] There are both stem and basal leaves. Basal and lower leaves are up to 2 inches long, ½ to 1 inch wide, slightly heart-shaped to nearly round but generally longer than wide with a rounded tip, long stalked, the base of the stalk extending down the stem. Stem leaves are generally smaller and less rounded at the tip end. Leaves are scalloped around the edges and mostly hairless, not always completely unfolded at flowering time. Stems are mostly hairless, with multiple leafy stems arising from the base.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit]  Fruit is a hanging ovoid capsule 1/8 to ¼ inch long containing dark brown seeds


Sand Violet is similar to Dog Violet (Viola conspersa/V. labradorica), which has paler flowers, light green leaves that are more consistently round, less leafy stems, and has a preference for moister, less sandy soil.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at Vermillion Falls, Dakota County.


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

Posted by: Nick - Lilydale Park, St Paul
on: 2012-04-11 13:25:47

These flowers were blooming on 4/11 on the edge of the gravel parking lot in Lilydale park. It was the parking lot next to Pickerel Lake.

Posted by: Sherry Gray - Grey Cloud Dunes SNA
on: 2020-05-18 19:32:10

I think this is what I saw today May 18, 2020 at GCD SNA

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