WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

If it’s a blue violet with a branching stem, it’s this species. Stems 3/4–12-inches (2–30 cm) long sprout from a dense clumps of leaves. Note the lower petal has a white throat with blue veins. Also called a Western Dog Violet and Sand Violet.


FLOWERS: April-August. Leafless flower stems to 4-inches long (10 cm) rise above the leaves. Pale blue to deep violet flowers 1/4–5/8-inch (5–15 mm) long have 5 petals; lateral 2 are white-bearded; lowest petal has purple lines and an elongated rear spur straight, curved, or hooked at tip. The upper 4 petals often curl backwards.


LEAVES: Basal and alternate on the stem. Basal leaf stems (petioles) 1/4–2 3/4-inches (5–70 mm) long; blades oval to triangular, 1/4–1 3/4-inches (5–47 mm) long to 1 3/4-inches (45 mm) wide; margins with broad, rounded teeth; stem leaves smaller.


HABITAT: Sandy, clay, gravelly soils in dry to moist meadows, riparian woodlands, stream banks; ponderosa pine-Douglas fir,  spruce-fir forests, sub-alpine vegetation.


ELEVATION: 7,100–11,700 feet.


RANGE: Widespread in western mountains to Alaska, Great Lakes and New England; Canada.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Of the 7 native violets in NM, two widespread and common ones are blue. This is the only blue-flowering species with branching flower stems. Northern Bog Violet, V. nephrophylla, widespread in NM mountains, is stemless with flower stems directly from the rhizomes.


NM COUNTIES: West and north NM in mid- to high-elevation habitats: Catron, Cibola, Colfax, Grant, Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Taos.

 

HOOKED-SPUR  BLUE  VIOLET

VIOLA  ADUNCA

Violet Family, Violaceae

Perennial herb

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Oval to triangular leaves are lined with rounded teeth (arrows).

The side petals are bearded with white hairs; the lower petal has a white throat with blue nectar guide lines for insect pollinators.

The lower petal forms a rear spur to 5/8-inch long, either straight, hooked , or curved (arrow). The spur contains the nectary to attract pollinating insects.

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