Viola sagittata var. ovata

(Nuttall) Torrey & A. Gray

Fl. N. Amer. 1: 138. 1838.

Common names: Northern downy or sand violet violette à feuilles frangées
Basionym: Viola ovata Nuttall Gen. N. Amer. Pl. 1: 148. 1818
Synonyms: V. amorphophylla Pollard V. fimbriatula Smith V. ovata var. hicksii (Pollard) Pollard V. sagittata var. hicksii Pollard
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 6. Treatment on page 156.

Leaves: earliest blades ovate to widely ovate; mid-season blades ovate to elliptic, 1–8 × 1–4.5 cm, base truncate, attenuate, slightly sagittate or hastate, or ± cordate, margins crenate or serrate, ciliate, surfaces usually densely pubescent. Sepal margins ciliate. Cleistogamous flowers on prostrate to ascending peduncles. 2n = 54.

Phenology: Flowering Apr–Jun.
Habitat: Dry, open woods and thickets, disturbed ground, roadsides, powerline rights-of-way
Elevation: 10–1000 m


V6 279-distribution-map.jpg

N.B., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Ala., Conn., Del., D.C., Ill., Iowa, Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.


Variety ovata was known as Viola fimbriatula by those who considered it a distinct species. Torrey and Gray were the first to recognize its affinity with V. sagittata. The early leaf-blade structure is similar in var. ovata and var. sagittata and both have prominent sepal auricles on cleistogamous flowers (L. E. McKinney 1992).

Fernald described Viola fimbriatula forma umbelliflora, an apparently rare taxon from Halifax, Nova Scotia, in which flowers occur in umbels of three. H. J. Scoggan (1978–1979) included forma umbelliflora under Viola sagittata. Study is needed of this taxon because umbels are otherwise unknown in North American species of Viola. Several species in the Hawaiian Islands produce umbellate inflorescences with up to five flowers (W. L. Wagner et al. 1990).

Variety ovata reportedly hybridizes with V. sagittata var. sagittata (= V. ×abundans House).

Selected References


Lower Taxa

R. John Little +  and Landon E. McKinney† +
(Nuttall) Torrey & A. Gray +
Viola ovata +
Northern downy or sand violet +  and violette à feuilles frangées +
N.B. +, N.S. +, Ont. +, P.E.I. +, Que. +, Ala. +, Conn. +, Del. +, D.C. +, Ill. +, Iowa +, Ky. +, Maine +, Md. +, Mass. +, Mich. +, N.H. +, N.J. +, N.Y. +, N.C. +, Ohio +, Pa. +, R.I. +, Tenn. +, Vt. +, Va. +, W.Va. +  and Wis. +
10–1000 m +
Dry, open woods and thickets, disturbed ground, roadsides, powerline rights-of-way +
Flowering Apr–Jun. +
Fl. N. Amer. +
V. amorphophylla +, V. fimbriatula +, V. ovata var. hicksii +  and V. sagittata var. hicksii +
Viola sagittata var. ovata +
Viola sagittata +
variety +