Viola pedatifida
Author: G. Don


Prairie violet


Violaceae (Violet Family)

Close up of Viola pedatifida by Steve Olson.
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Close up of Viola pedatifida by Susan Spackman Panjabi.
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Ranks and Status

Global rank: G5
State rank: S2
Federal protection status: None
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Viola pedatifida from the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database, Britton and Brown 1913.
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Viola pedatifida by Janet Wingate.
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General description: Plants perennial, acaulescent, not stoloniferous, 5–30 cm tall; rhizome thick, fleshy. Leaves basal, 2–11, ascending to erect, 5–9-lobed; stipules linear-lanceolate, margins entire, apex acute; petiole 3–16 cm, pubescent; blade similar in width and shape, lobes lanceolate, spatulate, falcate, or linear, 1–7 × 2–8 cm, base truncate to reniform, margins entire, ciliate, apex acute to obtuse, mucronulate, surfaces pubescent, hairs sometimes concentrated on veins. Peduncles erect, 5–18 cm, glabrous or pubescent. Flowers: sepals lanceolate to ovate, margins ciliate or eciliate, auricles 1–2 mm; petals light to soft reddish violet on both surfaces, lower 3 white basally, dark violet-veined, lateral 2 and lowest usually bearded, lowest 10–25 mm, spur same color as petals, gibbous, 2–3 mm; style head beardless. Capsules ellipsoid, 10–15 mm, glabrous. Seeds beige, mottled to bronze, 1.5–2.5 mm (Flora of North America 2015).

Look Alikes: No other blue flowered Viola species in Colorado have leaves dissected into narrow lobes (Spackman et al. 1997).

Phenology: Flowers April to June (Spackman et al. 1997, Ackerfield 2015).

[+] Herbarium Photos

Images of Viola pedatifida housed at the Colorado State University Herbarium.

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[+] Habitat

Habitat of Viola pedatifida by Bernadette Kuhn.
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Habitat of Viola pedatifida by Bernadette Kuhn.
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Prairies, open woodlands, and forest openings; rocky sites (Spackman et al. 1997, Ackerfield 2015). Associated taxa include Pinus ponderosa, Muhlenbergia montana, Yucca glauca, Opuntia, Artemisia ludoviciana, Poa compressa, Poa agassizensis, Pneumonathe affinis, Muhlenbergia montana, Stipa comata, Schizachyrium scoparium, Koeleria macrantha, Bouteloua curtipendula.ScutellariaLithospermum, Pulsatilla ludoviciana.

Elevation Range: 5,197 - 8,297 feet (1,584 - 2,529 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Viola pedatifida in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2017, COMaP).
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Distribution of Viola pedatifida in Colorado.
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Colorado endemic: No
Global range: Occurs from southern Ontario to Alberta, south through the midwestern United States, and further south through the western states to Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas (USDA NRCS 2017).
State range: In Colorado, known from Archuleta, Boulder, Custer, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Fremont, Huerfano, Jefferson, Las Animas and Pueblo counties, primarily along the Front Range and plains.

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Rapid development along the Front Range may threaten this species and it's habitat. Imminent threats from invasive pasture grasses, hydrological manipulations for flood control, cattle, roads and ditches. Colorado climate scenarios for 2050 suggest temperature will increase by 3-7 F and precipitation may decrease or increase. The impact to any given rare plant habitat is likely to vary. Long-term monitoring that includes weather and soil moisture data is critical to understanding climate impacts.

[+] References

    • Baird, V. B. 1942. Wild Violets of North America. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
    • Beardsley, M. and D. A. Steingraeber. 2013. Population dynamics, rarity and risk of extirpation for populations of Mimulus gemmiparus (budding monkeyflower) on National Forests of Colorado. A research report submitted to the USFS Forest Service. Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forets and Pawnee National Grassland. pp 17. Accessed online on May 11 at: http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/Rare_Plants/profiles/Critically_Imperiled/mimulus_gemmiparus/ documents/USFS_MimulusStatusReport2013.pdf
    • Brainerd, E. 1921. Violets of North America. Free Press Printing Company, Burlington, VT.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program and the Geospatial Centroid. 2017. The Colorado Ownership and Protection Map (COMaP). Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2015. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 6. Magnoliophyta: Cucurbitaceae to Droserceae. Oxford University Press, New York. 496 pp + xxiv.
    • Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS. 1402 pp.
    • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
    • Little, R.J. and L.E. McKinney. 2010. Four nomenclatural changes in Viola (Violaceae). Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 4(1):225-226.
    • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. 1997. Colorado rare plant field guide. Prepared for Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Colorado Natural Heritage Program.
    • USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, PLANTS Database [USDA PLANTS]. http://plants.usda.gov/. Accessed 2017.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 555 pp.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.

Last Updated

2017-01-27