Viola sororia common violet Violaceae VISO; Bx, bg, br, g, rd, sf, sl, up, vc, wv (Yost et al. 1991); NY, bl (Stalter and Tang 2002), ct, hb, iw, rr; Q, a, cu, ri; K ow, p; R, ap (E. Danielsen 4/2017), bd, bg, cl, cs, gb, h, is, r, w, lt; 



Viola.sororia.M. B. Gargiullo (2011).

Viola sororia is a low, stemless, perennial  herb, about 10 cm; colonial from a short knobby branching rhizome, roots associated with VA mycorrhizas (Brundrett and Kendrick 1988); life span about 10-14 years (Bierzychudek 1982; Solbrig et al. 1980). 

Leaves basal, stalk to 20 cm long, blade to 7 cm long, 6 cm wide, heart-shaped, held at an angle to the erect stalk, summer leaves to 13 cm wide, emergence in Spring corresponds to soil temp above 10 ºC, an air temp above 0 ºC., well before canopy closure (Solbrig et al 1980; Collins et al. 1985). 

Viola sororia.Confederate violet.David G.

Viola sororia.Confederate violet.David G.

Flowers purple, to white, to 3 cm wide, rather flat-faced 5-parted, bilaterally symmetrical, side petals bearded, blooms in April, later in season produces inconspicuous, closed flowers barely above soil. 

Fruit a purplish-green capsule, elliptic, longer than persistent sepals, seed brown, to 0.25 cm long, 0.15 cm wide, several with a fatty appendage (elaiosome), initially dispersed by explosive dehiscence, secondarily dispersed by ants attracted to fleshy appendage, seeds eaten by birds,). 

Wetland status: FAC-. 

Frequency in NYC: Frequent. 

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Disturbed woods, shady lawns, edges. Shade tolerant, appears to go dormant during dry summers, does not appear to compete well with taller vegetation in full sun. (Martin et al. 1951; Beattie and Culver 1981; Thompson 1981; Wein and Pickett 1989). 

Notes: Probably the most common violet in the United States. Foliage eaten by small mammals (rabbits), and butterfly larvae of the great spangled fritillary, Speyeria cybele (Nymphalidae) (Klots 1951; Martin et al 1951; Solbrig et al 1980).