Field Pansy, Viola bicolor

Field Pansy

Viola bicolor

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Spring
Hardiness Zones: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Soil Conditions: Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Moist
Color: Yellow, Violet
Fragrance: No
Height: 3-6 inches
Spacing: 3-6 inches

Field Pansy, Viola bicolor, is a winter or spring annual about 6 inches tall, sometimes branching near the base of the plant. It is more or less erect. The small basal leaves have orbicular blades with long slender petioles; these are followed by alternate leaves along the stems. The stems are light green to purplish green and hairless. The alternate leaves are obovate, oblanceolate, or linear-oblanceolate, becoming more narrow as they ascend the stems. They are up to 2 inches long, light to medium green, hairless, and smooth to slightly crenate along their margins.

Occasionally, individual flowers are produced from axils of the upper leaves on long naked stalks. Each of these stalks is light green to dark purple and hairless, curving downward at the apex where the flower occurs. Each flower is about ½-inch across, consisting of 5 petals and 5 sepals. The petals are pale to medium blue-violet with dark purple lines, becoming white near the throat of the flower. However, the lowermost petal has a patch of yellow near its base. Also, the two lateral petals are bearded with white hairs near the throat of the flower. The sepals are smaller in size than the petals; they are light green to purplish green, lanceolate, and hairless. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer and lasts about 1½ months. Fertilized flowers produce seed capsules. The small seeds are light brown and globoid; they are ejected mechanically from their ripened capsules.

The preference is full or partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and a light friable soil containing some sand. However, this wildflower adapts to other kinds of soil as well. The root system consists of a slender branching taproot. Colonies of plants are occasionally formed.

Habitats include limestone glades, moist sand prairies, fields, edges of sandy paths, and waste places. Sandy areas with a history of disturbance are preferred.

 Further Information

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