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Goosefoot Violet, Goosefoot Yellow Violet, Mountain Violet - Viola purpurea


Family: Violaceae - Violet family Genus Common Name: Violet Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Viola purpurea - Goosefoot Violet, Goosefoot Yellow Violet, Mountain Violet. Viola purpurea is a yellow-flowering violet of western North America, being found in ten western states and in British Columbia, Canada. It is further divided into at least 6 subspecies or varieties, depending on which subclassification method to which you subscribe. The subspecies presented in the photographs here, Viola purpurea ssp. venosa, is the most widely distributed one, missing only from Arizona out of the ten aforementioned states (ssp. mohavensis is the only subspecies found in Arizona; it is also found in California.)

I had previously, incorrectly, identified these photos of Viola purpurea ssp. venosa as Viola praemorsa. Many thanks to Dr. John Little for providing me with the corrected identification.

Found in:
AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

Journal Articles Referencing Violet

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Viola purpurea

Distribution of Viola purpurea 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, 23 Oct 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2011-June-10Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The petals of the Goosefoot Violet are a deep yellow. The lower petals have brownish veining. The lateral petals are bearded.
Viola purpurea

Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2011-June-10Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
I originally thought “purpurea” would indicate a purple or blue violet (perhaps a violet-colored violet?) However, the species name purpurea likely refers to the red to brown-purple backside of the otherwise yellow lateral petals and the accents on the frontside of the petals.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Viola purpurea

Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2011-June-10Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The Goosefoot Violet is often found interspersed with Blue-eyed Mary - Collinsia parviflora. For those of you that know how tiny that plant is you can judge the size of this lovely yellow violet.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Viola purpurea

Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2011-June-10Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The leaves of Viola purpurea ssp. venosa help differentiate from other western yellow violets, both within Viola purpurea and from other Viola species. The basal leaves are usually almost as wide as they are long, and the will have 2 to 4 pointed lobes on each side of the leaf. The major veins on the top are prominently visible.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Viola purpurea

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