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Downy Yellow Violet, Smooth Yellow Violet, Yellow Forest Violet - Viola pubescens


Family: Violaceae - Violet family Genus Common Name: Violet Native Status: Native
Viola pubescens - Downy Yellow Violet, Smooth Yellow Violet, Yellow Forest Violet. One of several species of yellow violets found in the United States.

I originally thought this to be Viola rotundifolia, which has ovate to cordate leaves. A key identifier for this species is, according to Wildflowers Of Tennessee, The Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians is that this is the only yellow violet in eastern North America with the flowers and leaves on separate stalks.

I now believe Viola rotundifolia to be an incorrect identification. I (finally!) took a closer look at the yellow violets in a couple of areas of The Pocket, including the area where the photo below was taken 3 years earlier, and have found all to be Viola pubescens (or perhaps V. eriocarpa / V. pensylvanica if you subscribe to the separation of those species.) In many cases the stem of the plant was covered in forest detritus, making it appear to be acaulescent, especially to one who didn't know to check closer. I suspect that would be the case with the photo below.

Found in:
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Journal Articles Referencing Violet

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Viola pubescens

Distribution of Viola pubescens in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 21 Oct 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain, Walker County, GA Date: 2010-March-27Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
1/80f/5.6 ISO200
Five-petaled small bright yellow blossom with brown veins in the lower petals. Early in the season this small violet, except for the splash of yellow, can get lost among the other woodland wildflowers. Shown here nestling among Trout Lily leaves.
Viola pubescens

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer