Plant ID forum: Tiny purple flowers in May

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Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Feb 19, 2017 2:20 PM CST
I just noticed I had a decent old photo of these from just after I transplanted them. I had been planning to ask for ID when they flower again in May.



This is a weed I have been pulling for years, then I decided a cluster of them might look nice. So I found them all over my yard and put them all together in that spot.

These are perennials. They have a thickened vertical section of root that I assume stores food for their burst of growth and flowering in May. Unlike most of the weed perennials here, these do not seem to propagate by any form of above or below ground runner. Each plant remains an individual. Volunteers propagate only by seed.

The volunteer violets I also found and transplanted have similar size and color and timing of flowers, but very different leaf shape and plant structure and those propagate by some form of underground runner much more successfully than by seed.

[Last edited by jsf67 - Feb 19, 2017 2:23 PM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 19, 2017 4:19 PM CST
This looks like a different species of Viola (violet.) There are MANY. Are you able to add a closeup of a bloom?
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 19, 2017 4:21 PM CST
And the underground blooms you refer to on your other (non-pictured plant) are "cleistogamous," for which V. sororia is the poster-child.
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[Last edited by purpleinopp - Feb 20, 2017 6:22 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Feb 19, 2017 4:22 PM CST
It might be another type of wild violet. The flowers look like violet flowers. What do the roots look like?
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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Feb 19, 2017 4:36 PM CST
A close up of the bloom might help determine an exact ID. My first thought was Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) which is a Massachusetts native.
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Name: Janine
NE Connecticut (Zone 6a)
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janinilulu
Feb 19, 2017 4:54 PM CST
Viola sagittata/Northern Downy Violet? It's hard to tell from the photo.
Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Feb 19, 2017 5:33 PM CST
Thanks. Some of the photos I found online for "northern downy violet" look plausible for this plant.

In May, I'll try with a better camera than I had last May, and get a decent picture of the flower.

I'm confused by "Viola sagittata" Some of the online hits for "northern downy violet" say it is "Viola sagittata". But most of the hits for "Viola sagittata" say it is "Arrow-Leaved Violet" with pictures and descriptions that are not similar enough to what I have to be the same plant.

I hope I didn't confuse this thread by comparing the ones that I'm asking about with a different weed I also have (similar flowers but very different plant and leaves). That OTHER one has the same leaf shape as Viola sororia and probably is Viola sororia.

@Daisyl re your question about roots. The roots were dramatically different between these and the other weeds that I think are Viola sororia. But I don't think I remember either well enough to describe accurately. So one project I should remember is when they pop up in the spring, I should dig a probable Viola sororia from the lawn (where most of those grow) and dig one of these I'm asking about from wherever it pops up unwanted (all over the property, rarely in the lawn). Then I'll try rinsing them off and getting photos of the roots.

Here is a picture of the violets I'm guessing are Viola sororia. The plant I'm asking about in this thread is very different (but may still be Viola)

Thumb of 2017-02-19/jsf67/139de7

The probable Viola sororia grow each leaf haphazardly positioned relative to the earlier ones, on a fairly long stalk relative to leaf size, and the leaves stay elevated on the stalks.

I see in the photo, the transplant process messed up the usual leaf pattern of the ones I'm asking about: Where these volunteered, each new leaf grows vertically in the center of the rosette of earlier leaves, and with a relatively short stalk, then lies down in its place in the rosette.
[Last edited by jsf67 - Apr 29, 2017 12:18 PM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 20, 2017 6:21 AM CST
Sorry if my post wasn't clear. I don't think the plant you've pictured here originally is V. sororia. The foliage is different.
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Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Feb 20, 2017 7:02 AM CST
@purpleinopp I was confused by your phrase "the underground blooms you refer to on your other ... cleistogamous".

I guess that was in response to my statement about underground runners (rhizomes I believe) that propagate the weed I think is Viola sororia. I thought that process produced a clone of the original, not self fertilized offspring as I think you are describing.

When it volunteers from seed these (Viola sororia) start with multiple very tiny leaves that are a miniature version of the leaves on mature plants. When it starts from underground propagation, it looks just the same as a mature plant reemerging in the spring from established roots: first leaves are full size. So that means the new plant is at least initially fed by the parent plant, which I thought meant it was the same plant.

Anyway, it was plantladylin (not you) that I understood to be saying the plant I'm trying to identify is Viola sororia.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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purpleinopp
Feb 20, 2017 8:04 AM CST
V. sororia reproduces by creeping rhizomes, "regular" flowers, and cleistogamous blooms.

BONAP Viola map, which can help narrow your search to only at those known to be present in your area. Not foolproof, but respected as being quite accurate.
http://bonap.net/NAPA/TaxonMap...

Someone who enjoys sorting Violas should see this. They are a vast & difficult bunch. I've spotted & had help ID'ing a few others, but V. sororia is the only one I have serious experience with, from when I lived in OH. I haven't seen it around where I am now though it's supposedly present.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
[Last edited by purpleinopp - Feb 20, 2017 8:05 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Feb 20, 2017 9:17 AM CST
~ Anyway, it was plantladylin (not you) that I understood to be saying the plant I'm trying to identify is Viola sororia. ~

plantladylin said:A close up of the bloom might help determine an exact ID. My first thought was Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) which is a Massachusetts native.


*Blush* I wasn't saying that it's definitely V. sororia; that was just my first thought as a possibility. I really don't know one from the other except for V. affinis which popped up every year at our old house and was identified for me on this forum.

~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Feb 20, 2017 9:27 AM CST
I asked about the probable Viola sororia in a different forum years ago (before I even knew these were violets) and an expert told me distinguishing it among the various possibilities would require details of the structure inside the bloom, that I can't even see with 2x glasses.

My current camera is much better than the one I had last May. With a tripod and a lot of tweaking, it sometimes can take a magnified photo revealing details I can't see with 2x glasses. Usually, the best it can do is a little worse than I can see with 2x glasses. But it is worth trying. So when these two bloom, I will try for magnified photos of the structures inside the flowers.

BTW, elsewhere I also asked about three shrubs that have been here for 30 years plus one of the few survivors among shrubs my wife bought and got the basics that they are all small leaf rhododendrons, and I learned several details to check to distinguish azaleas from other small leaf rhododendrons , including those details of internal flower structure (but on flowers big enough even my old camera could photograph them). Anyway, the results of all that were contradictory so I had to stop caring whether each of those four different small leaf rhododendrons are azaleas. So I'm curious to see what internal structure of the bloom says about which violas these are. But experience says plants may choose not to follow the rules at that level of detail.
[Last edited by jsf67 - Feb 20, 2017 9:51 AM (+)]
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Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Feb 20, 2017 9:44 AM CST
@plantladylin Sorry. I do appreciate your comments and wasn't implying any criticism and thought I was typing "saying the plant I'm trying to identify might be Viola sororia." but I see I typed "is" where I meant "might be".

I just looked at your photos of V. affinis. I see the basic leaf shape and plant structure matches the weed for which my working guess in V. soroia and is very different from the leaf shape and plant structure of the ones I started this thread for (Still no criticism of your helpful suggestion implied. Just adding info to the discussion).

Google search seems to bring up links saying there is expert disagreement over whether V. affinis is distinct from V. sororia, so once I have better photos of my plants that might be one of those, I'd be curious who (and more importantly based on what detail) identified your V. affinis.
[Last edited by jsf67 - Feb 20, 2017 9:46 AM (+)]
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Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 29, 2017 6:56 AM CST
DaisyI said:What do the roots look like?



But where else are root photos posted for comparison. As I mentioned before, the roots are very different from my other violets, because the other ones propagate by rhizomes or some similar structure and these do not. Each plant is individual and they propagate by (invisibly small) seed. That tuber like thing gets much bigger on more successful plants. But only roots come off those, not other thick structures.

purpleinopp said:Are you able to add a closeup of a bloom?


I don't have the skill (and/or correct camera) to focus on something as small as the flower. But this is close to in focus:



Google found this picture marked "northern downy violet"
http://mothernatures-classroom...
That is so similar to the bloom and other above ground structure of my plants, that if I can't find underground details (such as whether it has rhizomes) for "northern downy", I should conclude what I have must be that.

My google results comparing Viola sagittata (arrow leaved) to Viola fimbriatula (northern downy): To my non expert eyes, the leaf shape and plant structure looks very different (and the blooms look identical). The many online sagittata photos include mostly the leaf shape I don't have but some of those I do have. The many online fimbriatula photos are all the leaf shape I have. I understand experts disagree and I know much less. But if I'm not completely off (and this plant is something else entirely) I think the two are different and I have fimbriatula.
[Last edited by jsf67 - Apr 29, 2017 12:17 PM (+)]
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