Ontario Weeds: Field violet

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Leaves
  7. Flowers and Fruit
  8. Habitat
  9. Similar Species
  10. Related Links

Name: Field violet, Viola arvensis Murr.,

Other Names: violette des champs, European field pansy, Field pansy, Wild pansy, pensée des champs

Family: Violet Family (Violaceae)

General Description: Annual or possibly living for two years, reproducing only by seed.

Photos and Pictures

Field violet - note 3-pointed open seedpod, lower centre
Field violet, note 3-pointed open seedpod, lower centre.

Field violet. A. Seedling.

Field violet. A. Seedling.

Field violet. B. Base of
Field violet.
B. Base of
young plant. C. Flowering plant.

Stems & Roots: Stems erect and short or much-branched and somewhat sprading, up to 30cm (12in.) long, somewhat fleshy or succulent, with or without fine hair.

Leaves: Leaves of seedlings and young plants very small, with long stalks, rounded blades, a few shallow teeth, and very small stipules; stem leaves of older plants alternate (1 per node), larger, oval to oblong or nearly linear, all with a few coarse rounded teeth; stipules (appendages at junction of leafstalk and stem) of stem leaves large, resembling leaf blades, deeply dissected with long thin, terminal lobe and several, narrow, shorter segments on either side.

Flowers & Fruit: Flowers on long thin stalks form axils of leaves, pale yellow or white and yellow, resembling thsoe of the cultivated pansy but much small, about 1-1.5cm (2/5-3/5in.) long, and with a very short spur (2mm, 1/12in.) at the base of the lwoer petal; seedpods splitting into 3 divisions and scattering numerous, small, brownish seeds. Flowers from early May to midsummer and occasionally in autumn.

Habitat: Field violet occurs throughout most of Ontario in gardens, cereal crops, pastures, abandoned fields and waste places.

Similar Species: It is distinguished by the small yellow flowers resembling a miniature pansy, the lowest leaves rounded with very small stipules but upper leaves oblong and with large, prominent, deeply dissected stipules so that the stem appears to have tufts of tiny narrow leaves at each node.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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