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Alluvial woods, fields, salt meadows, slopes near streams.
Found primarily along the Atlantic Coast from MA south to SC at elevations of 0-100 m. Listed as endangered in CT, NY, and PA, and threatened in MA. Listed as extirpated in ME but likely never occurred there.
Acaulescent, glabrous perennial from a thick, fleshy rhizome. Leaves 5-9, deeply 5-9-lobed, homophyllous (early and mid-season leaves similarly lobed); middle lobes of leaf blades lanceolate or spatulate to narrowly obovate. Sepals lanceolate to ovate, auricles 2-3 mm; petals pale to soft reddish violet, lower three white basally, dark violet-veined; lateral petals bearded, lowest petal 1-2.5 cm and sometimes bearded; capsule ellipsoid, 1-1.5 cm, glabrous; seeds beige, mottled to bronze, 1.5-2.5 mm.
Flowers late April to June
Wetland indicator: FAC
These plants were photographed in southern NJ growing in nearly pure sand. Has in the past been considered a variety or subspecies of V. pedatifida. Viola pectinata Bickn. is a closely related species with sharply toothed leaves that is sometimes considered by some to be merely a form of V. brittoniana.
Little, R.J. and
L.E. McKinney. 2015. Viola. In: Flora of North America North of
Mexico, Vol. 6. Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford.
USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov).
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
Michael Hough © 2017