Two White Violets

20160405-_DSC0131

creamy violet
Viola striata
Violaceae

20160421-_DSC0059

 

 

 

sweet white violet
Viola blanda
Violaceae

 

 

 

It is with some trepidation that I venture into violet territory, as there are 117 species across the US, and violets are known to hybridize freely, so that identification often comes down to tiny little details.

According to the blog Mid-Atlantic Nature, nine white violets can be found in this area. A cross check with the Maryland Biodiversity Project shows that only six of these are present in the Maryland piedmont. And, the two shown in this post have some unique characteristics, so I’m fairly confident that they’ve been correctly identified.

As you can see in the pictures (if you zoom in), creamy white violet has two bearded petals, while sweet white violet has a reddish-brown stem .

Creamy violet is all over the place on Billy Goat C downstream of Carderock, with some occurrences upstream along Billy Goat B as well. I’m honestly not sure If I’ve seen sweet white violet in that area; You have to be pretty close to see the details. I saw this one plant (only this one plant) in Rachel Carson Conservation Park.

The two species have similar ranges, in most parts of the country east of the Great Plains, with V. blanda found further north and V. striata further west.


Update 5/10/16

It’s possible that the sweet white violet pictured above is actually primrose-leaved violet, V. primulifolia, a naturally occuring hybrid of V. lanceolata and V. macloskeyi. I can’t really say without better pictures.

One thought on “Two White Violets

  1. Pingback: A Vexing Violet, or, How to Overthink Identification | Elizabeth's Wildflower Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s