Downy Yellow Violet, Viola pubescens

Downy Yellow Violet

Viola pubescens

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Dry
Color: Orange, Yellow
Fragrance: No
Height: 6-12 inches
Spacing: 6-12 inches

Downy Yellow Violet, Viola pubescens, also known as the Smooth Yellow Violet, grows in height between 0.5 and 1 feet and spreads 0.5 to 1 feet. It is a herbaceous perennial plant that blooms from March to May.

The viola pubescens is notoriously characterized by the thin brownish vein-like lines running from the inside to the outer parts its lower petals. Another of its defining characteristics is the shape of its leaves which closely resemble that of a heart.

The leaves are simple and their margins are crenate-serrate. While they may be both basal or cauline, the leaves of the viola pubescens are alternate and range in numbers from one to five. They are easily recognizable by the shape of the leaf blade, analogous to that of a heart, with clearly visible veins. The leaves typically grow around three inches wide and two and a half inches long. They have coarse teeth and uneven edges. Similarly, their surface is medium green and usually pubescent, as the scientific name infers. They are often covered in soft velvety hairs, though they may also be glabrous. The leaves are alternate, though rarely opposite, and simple; the stipules are leafy.

The flower is composed of five yellow petals of which the lower one is marked by several purple or brownish lines, five acute sepals, five stamens and a single pistil with a superior ovary. The flowers are found on the stalk (peduncles). On average, the flower of the viola pubescens is measured at three quarters of an inch across. The flowers bloom in late May to early June.

Fruits mature around mid summer. They are an oval capsule and range from five to twelve millimeters in size. The seeds are a brownish to white pale color.

Habitats include mesic to upland woodlands, sandy woodlands, forested sand dunes, and areas along woodland paths. The preference is partial sun to light shade, moist to dry-mesic conditions, and a relatively loose soil containing loam or sandy loam with some decaying organic matter (e.g., fallen leaves). This violet does not tolerate mowing. It is able to flourish in areas that have pine needles as ground litter to a greater extent than many other plants.

 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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