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Appalachian Blue Violet

Viola appalachiensis

Viola appalachiensis
Viola appalachiensis
Viola appalachiensis

Appalachian blue violet habitat
Appalachian blue violet
Viola appalachiensis habitat Pennsylvania

State Heritage Status Rankings

Maryland (S2), North Carolina (S2), Georgia (S1), Pennsylvania (S2), West Virginia (S2S3)


Appalachian blue violet is a prostrate, rhizomatous to ascending, stemless violet producing surficial stolons 2 to 4 mm in thickness. Leaves are simple, broadly ovate to reniform, rounded at the tip and cordate at its base. Leaf margins are crenate and the upper surface is glabrous except for small, stiff, scattered hairs. The stipules are free and sparingly lacerate. The corolla is purple to light blue. The spurred petal is glabrous with the spur 2 to 3 times as long as thick. Capsules are green at the terminus of ascending peduncles. Mature seeds are light brown in color (Rhoads et. al. 2000).


Appalachian blue violet inhabits a variety or habitats throughout its limited range. (Rhodes et. al. 2000) report the species is rare along upland stream banks and in bogs. Weakley (2002) reports that in North Carolina the species occurs in serpentine barrens and rich cove forests, especially along old roadbeds through cove forests. Henderson and Pomeroy (2002) documented the species inhabiting various habitats in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The predominant habitat type where the species was found was in the upland overbank zone immediately adjacent to intermittent and perennial streams and in the nearby open deciduous forest floodplain. The species was also observed along the headwaters of small ephemeral mountain streams and in the upland zone immediately adjacent to palustrine scrub-shrub and emergent wetlands; it was also found in mowed highway rights-of-way. Specimens found in mowed rights-of-way appeared to be healthier and their growth pattern was more vigorous than specimens inhabiting forested communities.


As Appalachian blue violet is a relatively new species, its population and range may be more common than reported and ecologists may have not searched for the species in locations outside of its known range. According to NatureServe (2003), the species has only been documented in scattered locations in North Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.


  • Henderson, J.E. and S. Pomeroy. 2002. Greenhorne & O'Mara, Inc. Protected Species Survey. Personal Observations and Field Notes of Viola appalachiensis and its Habitat. Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

  • NatureServe. 2003. Internet Resource. NatureServe.

  • Rhoads A.F., T.A. Block., and A. Anisko. 2000. The Plants of Pennsylvania An Illustrated Manual. The University of Pennsylvania Press. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1,072 pages.

  • USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5. Internet Resource USDA Plants Database. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

  • Weakley, A.S. July 2002. Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia, Working Draft. Internet Resource. Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia.