New York Natural Heritage Program
Coast Violet
Viola brittoniana Pollard
Dicots

General Description [-]
Viola brittoniana is a perennial wildflower species. The leaves are glabrous and deeply palmately divided nearly to the base, then again divided into slender lobes. It is a "stemless" violet, meaning that the flowers are borne singly on leafless stalks emerging directly from the base of the plants. The petals are purple, the lateral ones "bearded" inside with long thread-like hairs. The sepals are lance-shaped, coming to a point at the apex. The fruit are green, long egg-shaped capsules containing brown seeds 1.3 to 1.5 mm long, held on erect peduncles (Rhoads and Block 2000, Haines 1998).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
Flowering or fruiting individuals are needed for identification.

Similar Species [-]
V. palmata and V. subsinuata are two violet species closely related to Viola brittoniana. Viola palmata differs from V. brittoniana by having leaves divided only halfway to their bases, and seeds 2 mm long on prostrate peduncles. V. subsinuata has hairy leaves, divided only halfway to their bases, beardless bottom petals, and purple-spotted fruit on short prostrate peduncles.
Coast Violet Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
Coast Violet flowers from May through June, and the fruits may persist into September.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Vegetative Flowering Fruiting
The time of year you would expect to find Coast Violet vegetative (blue shading), flowering (green shading) and fruiting (orange shading) in New York.