Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
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Viola sempervirens

Higher Taxonomy
Family: ViolaceaeView Description 

Habit: 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 [0], 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 [1] 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.
Genera In Family: 23 genera, 830 species: worldwide, generally temperate, tropics (especially higher elevations). Note: Lengths of lowest petal including spur.
eFlora Treatment Author: R. John Little
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ViolaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: VIOLET
Leaf: generally deciduous. Flower: sepals +- equal, entire; petals unequal, lowest generally largest, with spur generally < 3 [20] 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.
Species In Genus: +- 500 species: temperate, worldwide, Hawaii, Andes. Etymology: (Latin: classical name) Note: Important orns including Viola odorata, Viola tricolor L. (Johnny-jump-up, wild pansy), Viola ×wittrockiana Gams (garden pansy).

Viola sempervirens Greene
Habit: 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. Chromosomes: 2n=24,48.
Ecology: Shady areas in coastal forest; Elevation: 5--1400 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CW; Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, Idaho. Flowering Time: Jan--Jul
Synonyms: Viola sempervirens subsp. orbiculoides M.S. Baker; Viola sarmentosa Douglas, illeg.
Unabridged Note: In Oregon, Washington, in Douglas-fir and other forests, sometimes carpets ground.
eFlora Treatment Author: R. John Little
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Previous taxon: Viola purpurea subsp. venosa
Next taxon: Viola sheltonii

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botanical illustration including Viola sempervirens


Citation for this treatment: R. John Little 2017. Viola sempervirens, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 21, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 21, 2017.

Viola sempervirens
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© 2005 George W. Hartwell
Viola sempervirens
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© 2005 George W. Hartwell
Viola sempervirens
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© 2010 Neal Kramer
Viola sempervirens
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© 2015 Barry Breckling
Viola sempervirens
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© 2011 California Academy of Sciences
Viola sempervirens
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© 2010 Neal Kramer

More photos of Viola sempervirens in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Viola sempervirens:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.