Viola nuttallii (Nuttall's Yellow Violet) - photos and description





Lateral petals somewhat bearded




General: Very early flowering violet with bright yellow flowers. Flowering stems have leaves, but these are often only apparent when the plant is dug up - the stem leaves grow near the bottom of the stem making the flowering stems  appear to be leafless. Additionally, there are many leaves growing from the crown of the plant.

Taxonomic key to Saskatchewan's violets.

Flowers: Flowers solitary on scapes, the scapes grow from leaf axils.The flowers are bright yellow with the bottom three petals having purple-brown or brown lines. The side petals are lightly bearded. We measured a flower to 2 cm in diameter. Flowers have a short spur, we measured a spur at 3 mm long.

Leaves: Leaves mostly basal, stem leaves alternate. The leaves are lanceolate, tapering at the base. Leaf margins have short hairs, and petioles have very short hairs. Leaf blades usually 3 times as long as wide, we measured a leaf at 7.5 cm long with petiole and 1 cm wide.

Height: We measured scapes to 9 cm tall.

Habitat: Open prairie and hillsides. We have observed that Viola nuttallii is found on dry prairie, while similar species Viola vallicola, is found in moist meadows.

Abundance: Common.

Origin: Native.

Similar species: This plant is very similar to another early-flowering violet - Viola vallicola. According to The Flora of Canada the two can be distinguished by the shape of their leaves. The leaves of Viola vallicola are ovate, with cordate or truncate bases, and the leaves usually less than 3 times as long as wide. While the leaves of Viola nuttallii are lanceolate, with tapering bases, and usually at least 3 times as long as wide.

When and where photographed: Photos taken April 29th and May 16th, slopes of the Souris River valley, Buffalo Grass Eco Reserve, 200 km SE of Regina, and May 9th, steep, dry slopes of the Big Muddy, about 200 km south of Regina, SK, May 14th prairie about 100 km south of our home in Regina, SK, and May 18th dry prairie hillside, Qu'Appelle Valley, about 100 km west of our home in Regina, SK.