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American Field Pansy
Viola bicolor

One of the smallest violets, this little flower can be deep purple or light purple (as you see in the photos here), you’ll find this lil’ lady blooming in the early spring.

From Illinois Wildflowers: “In the past, there has been some controversy regarding whether or not the Field Pansy is native to North America as it shares many characteristics with annual Viola spp. from Eurasia. More recently, there is a growing consensus among botanists that the Field Pansy is sufficiently distinct to be considered a native species of North America. The Field Pansy is rather similar to the introduced Viola tricolor (Johnny Jump-Up). However, this latter species has larger tricolored flowers about ½–1″ across and the terminal lobes of its stipules tend to have more teeth. Another introduced species, Viola arvensis (Wild Pansy), has yellow-cream flowers and its sepals are at least as long as its petals. Like the Field Pansy, these introduced species produce large stipules that are deeply lobed; this pansy-like characteristic distinguishes them from the Viola spp. that are called violets.” Therefore I’m tagging this as a native.

Alternate Names: Wild Pansy
Size: Very low to the ground 0-1 feet
Family: Violaceae (Violet Family)
Habitat: Fields! Fancy that.  Also, edges of sandy paths, and waste places. Sandy areas with a history of disturbance are preferred, as well as sun.
Identifiers: Each flower is about ½" across, consisting of 5 petals and 5 sepals. The petals are pale to medium blue-violet with dark purple lines, becoming white near the throat of the flower. However, the lowermost petal has a patch of yellow near its base. Also, the two lateral petals are bearded with white hairs near the throat of the flower.
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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