Viola adunca

From Puget Prairie Plants
  • Scientific Name: Viola adunca
  • Family: Violaceae
  • Common Names: early blue violet, blue violet, western dog violet
  • Codon:VIOADU

Photo by Ben Legler, also featured on Main Page


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosanae
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Violaceae
Genus: Viola L.
Species: Viola adunca Sm.



Perennial herb growing from slender rhizomes with purple flowers, stemless to 10 cm tall.[2] Leaves simple, entire to finely crenate,[3] 1-3 cm long, cordate-ovate, petiolate.[4] Flowers 5-merous, solitary, axillary, zygomorphic; sepals 5, lanceolate;[3] petals 5, lowermost larger and spurred (spur 3-7 mm[3]), upper 4 in 2 pairs;[5] lower 3 petals white proximally with dark violet veins, lateral 2 bearded;[3] stamens 5, connivent around pistil;[5] pistil 3-carpellate with 1 style, globose stigma[5] and superior ovary with parietal placentation becoming a 3-valved capsule.[4]

Bloom Period



Widespread, Alaska to California, both sides of Cascades, east to Atlantic.[5]


Dry to moist meadows, open woods, grasslands and open, disturbed ground from lowlands to near timberline[2]


Ecological: Key food species for the larvae of the silverspot butterfly.

Landscaping: Native violets "can produce the right substitute with a restrained beauty" to exotics such as pansies. "This is an easy, dependable and lovely plant for rather dry, open woods or lower reaches of the rockery in sun or partial shade." [6]

First Nations - Use by Blackfoot people as a dye. Use by several tribes as a treatment for external or stomach pain.[7]


Cold moist stratification improves germination. To stratify outdoors, sow in container from November through January, allow exposure to rain, do not protect from frost, until after germination. Best to sow several seeds into a single tray, pluck out and transplant individually in the spring. Emergence usually occurs once soil has warmed in April, sometimes May. Seed should be brown in color. Buff or pale colored seed indicates immature development.[8]

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  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from
  2. 2.0 2.1 MacKinnon, A., Pojar, Jim, & Alaback, Paul B. (2004). Plants of the Pacific Northwest coast : Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska (Rev. ed.). Vancouver: Lone Pine Pub.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Jepson Herbarium Online Flora. Retrieved from
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press
  6. Kruckeberg, A. (1996). Gardening with native plants of the Pacific Northwest (2nd ed., rev. and enl. ed.). Seattle : Vancouver: University of Washington Press ; Greystone Books.
  7. Native American Ethnobotany Database. Retrieved from
  8. Cascadia Prairie Oak Partnership. Retrieved from