Viola palmata L. var. triloba (Schwein.) Gingins ex A. DC.

Locations ofViola palmata L. var. triloba (Schwein.) Gingins ex A. DC. in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Viola palmata L. var. triloba (Schwein.) Gingins ex A. DC.
Common Name
Northern Three-lobed Violet
Viola triloba Schwein.; Viola palmata L. var. palmata (misapplied)
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Viola palmata L., s.l.
Incompletely mapped at present; the concept and name follow the treatment of violets Flora of the Southeastern U.S. (FSUS) and the treatment of northeastern US violets by Ballard, Kartesz, and Nishino (Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, 150(1): 3-266, 2023. This var. has traditionally been referred to as Viola palmata var. palmata; however, according to FSUS, the type of V. palmata unambiguously refers V. palmata sensu stricto to the common Piedmont and upper Coastal Plain plant with deeply dissected leaf blades, traditionally referred to as V. palmata var. dilatata Elliott. The latter is thus rendered a synonym of var. palmata, and the widespread northern taxon previously treated as var. palmata must use the earliest available name, var. triloba. Following the FSUS treatment, var. triloba is the more northern element of the V. palmata complex and is distinguished by consistently having larger leaf blades shallowly to moderately divided into 3 to 5 lobes, with the terminal lobe typically broad and elliptical to ovate or triangular. This distinctive var. is fairly common in the mountains and Piedmont, extending less frequently into the Coastal Plain.

According to FSUS, “var. palmata and var. triloba have not been found growing in intimate local contact, and their ranges are nearly allopatric when putative hybrids of var. palmata with Viola sororia are removed from consideration.” This does not appear to be the case in eastern Virginia, and further study is warranted. See also Comments under the provisional map for V. palmata var. palmata.
In a wide range of mesic to fairly dry upland forests; probably most numerous in moderately to strongly base-rich soils. Frequent to common in the mountains (at lower elevations) and Piedmont; less so in the Coastal Plain.
Native Status

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