Viola pubescens is a low perennial herb, to 45 cm, from a short, thick pale rhizome, roots associated with VA mycorrhizas (Brundrett and Kendrick 1988); plants softly hairy to mostly hairless; stem with 1-2 sheathing bracts above base.
Leaves alternate, few basal leaves, 2-4 leaves near top of stem, broadly heart- or egg-shaped, margin toothed, tip pointed, base lobed or blunt, one to several basal leaves slightly wider than long, kidney to heart-shaped, to 10 cm usually slightly wider than long, petioles long, stipules broadly egg-shaped.
Flowers yellow with purple veins near base, bilaterally symmetric, 5 parted, lateral petals bearded, slightly irregular; blooms April-May; closed, self-fertile flowers July-Aug. (Hough 1983), producing many seeds.
Fruit a white-wooly capsule, to 1.2 cm long, several seeded. Seeds with fatty appendage, dispersed explosive dehiscence, secondarily dispersed by ants attracted to appendage, eaten by birds, (Martin et al. 1951; Beattie and Culver 1981; Thompson 1981; Wein and Pickett 1989).
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Undisturbed rich, open woods; quite shade tolerant (Brundrett and Kendrick 1988). Found in flood plain forest, soil pH 6.8 (Gargiullo unpublished data).
Notes: Foliage eaten by rabbits and small mammals (Martin et al. 1951).