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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 2016. Viola sempervirens, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 05, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 05, 2016.

Viola sempervirens
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© 2004 Steve Matson
Viola sempervirens
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© 2000 California Academy of Sciences
Viola sempervirens
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© 2010 Neal Kramer
Viola sempervirens
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© 2007 California Academy of Sciences
Viola sempervirens
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© 2004 California Academy of Sciences
Viola sempervirens
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© 2009 Neal Kramer

More photos of Viola sempervirens in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Viola sempervirens:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

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