Genus: Viola

violet

Species in the genus Viola can be difficult to identify because hybrids are often produced. This is especially common between the closely related group of species with blue flowers and no leaves on the flowering stems. If you find a plant that looks intermediate between two species, it could be a hybrid, especially if it occurs close to the two other similar species and has fruits with few seeds. Once in awhile you will find a plant that fits the description of a species except for a single character. These plants may have grown from first-generation hybrids and should be named for the most similar species. Violets have two types of flowers and fruits: chasmogamous and cleistogamous. You can tell the fruits apart by the shape of the style--the chasmogamous fruits have a long, straight style, while the cleistogamous fruits have a style that is coiled. Species of violets that have only basal leaves come in two types: those in which all leaves are similarly lobed or unlobed, and those that produce a first set of leaves that are unlobed while the later leaves are lobed. References: Brainerd (1921), Brainerd (1924), Russell (1965), Haines (2001).

Family

Violaceae (violet family)

This Genus’s Species in New England:

Visit this genus in the Dichotomous Key