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Annual, perennial herb, [small shrub, tree, vine], from caudices, taproots, rhizomes, or stolons; hairs 0 or simple. Stem: 0 or prostrate to erect. Leaf: basal, cauline, or both, alternate, [opposite], simple to compound, petioled; stipules generally small; blade linear to round, entire to toothed or lobed. Inflorescence: flowers 1 [raceme], axillary or scapose; peduncle bractlets 2, generally alternate. Flower: bisexual, bilateral [radial]; sepals 5, free, basal lobes present , generally not prominent; petals 5, free, lowest often largest, base ± elongated into a spur; stamens 5, alternate petals, filaments short, wide, with large in-pointing hairs, lowest 2 anthers with basal nectaries extending into petal spur; ovary superior, chamber 1, placentas parietal, 3, ovules  generally many, style 1, often enlarged distally, stigma often oblique or hooked, hairy or not. Fruit: capsule [berry], 3-valved, loculicidal, explosively dehiscent or not. Seed: generally with outgrowth, attractive to ants.
23 genera, 830 species: worldwide, generally temperate, tropics (especially higher elevations). [Munzinger & Ballard 2003 Syst Bot 28:345–351] Lengths of lowest petal including spur. —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Baird, V.B. 1942. Wild violets of North Am. University of California Press, Berkeley. Beattie, A. J. and N. Lyons. 1975. Seed dispersal in Viola (Violaceae):adaptations and strategies. Amer. J. Bot. 62: 714–722. Brainerd, E. 1921. Violets of North Am. Vermont Agric. Exp. Sta. Bull. 224. Brizicky, G.K. 1961. The genera of Violaceae in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 42: 321–333. Clausen, J. 1929. Chromosome number and relationship of some North American species of Viola. Annals of Botany. 43: 741–764. Clausen, J. 1964. Cytotaxonomy and distributional ecology of western North American violets. Madroño 17:173–197. Gershoy, A. 1928. Studies in North American violets. I. General considerations. Vermont Agric. Exp. Sta. Bull. 279.]
Leaf: generally deciduous. Flower: sepals ± equal, entire; petals unequal, lowest generally largest, with spur generally < 3  mm, lateral 2 equal, generally spreading, upper 2 equal, erect or reflexed, overlapped or not, lateral 2 generally, others sometimes with beard of variously shaped hairs basally; cleistogamous flowers generally present, petals 0. Fruit: ovoid to oblong, hairy or not. Seed: 8–75.Key to Viola
± 500 species: temperate, worldwide, Hawaii, Andes. (Latin: classical name) Important orns including Viola odorata, Viola tricolor L. (Johnny-jump-up, wild pansy), Viola ×wittrockiana Gams (garden pansy).
Unabridged references: [Baker, M.S. 1949a. Studies in western violets. IV. Leafl. West. Bot. 5: 141–147; Baker, M.S. 1949b. Studies in western violets. VI; Madroño 10: 110–128; Baker, M.S. 1957. Brittonia 9: 217–230; Ballard, H.E. 1992. Systematics of Viola Section Viola in North Am north of Mexico. M.S. thesis, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan; Ballard, H.E. 1994. Violets of Michigan. Michigan Botanist 33: 131–199; Davidse, G. 1976. A study of some Intermountain violets (Viola Sect. Chamaemelanium). Madroño 23: 274–283; Fabijan et al. 1987. The taxonomy of the Viola nuttallii complex. Can. J. Bot. 65: 2562–2580; Gil-Ad, N.L. 1995. Systematics and evolution of Viola L. subsection Boreali Americanae (W. Becker) Brizicky. Ph.D. dissertation, Univ of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Gil-Ad, N.L. 1997. Systematics of Viola subsection Boreali-Americanae. Boissiera 53: 1–130; Hitchcock, C.L. 1961. Vasc. Plant. Pacific NorthW. Vol. 3; McKinney, L.E. 1992. A taxonomic revision of the acaulescent blue violets (Viola) of North Am. Sida Botanical Miscellany, 7: 1–59; McKinney, L.E. and N. Russell. 2002. Violaceae of the Southeastern United States. Castanea 4: 369–379; Russell, N.H. 1965. Violets (Viola) of the central and eastern United States: an introductory survey. Sida 1: 1–113]
Perennial herb, with stolon-like stems, glabrous or with scattered bristles on 1 or both leaf surfaces. Stem: prostrate, 1–several from current and/or previous year's growth, leafy, ± woody in age, often forming rosettes near tip; rooted rosettes generally form vertical, rhizomatous caudex that produces new stems. Leaf: simple, evergreen; basal 1–5 per caudex, petiole 2–16 cm, blade 1–4.5 cm, 2–3.9 cm wide, ovate to round, often purple-spotted on 1 or both surfaces, crenate, base cordate to truncate, tip blunt to obtuse; cauline petiole 0.3–3 cm, blade 1.2–2.2 cm, 1.2–2 cm, ± like basal. Inflorescence: axillary; peduncle 5–10 cm. Flower: sepals lanceolate, often purple-streaked or spotted, not ciliate; petals lemon-yellow, lower 3 veined brown-purple, lateral 2 bearded with cylindric hairs, lowest 8–17 mm. Fruit: 6–7 mm, ovoid, tan, glabrous. Seed: ± 2 mm, brown, tinged purple.
2n=24,48. Shady areas in coastal forest; 5–1400 m. Northwestern California, Central Western California; to Alaska, Idaho. Jan–Jul [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: In Oregon, Washington, in Douglas-fir and other forests, sometimes carpets ground.
Previous taxon: Viola purpurea subsp. venosa
Next taxon: Viola sheltonii
Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Mar 8 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2012. Viola, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=48307, accessed on Mar 8 2014
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