PLANT: Perennial herbs, 5 22 cm tall. STEMS: none; plants arising from thin, creeping rhizomes, forming late season stolons, glabrous. LEAVES: simple, basal, erect; stipules reddish; petioles 20 170 mm long; blades 20 65 mm long, 22 56 mm wide, ovate to round, crenate, the base cordate, the tip obtuse. INFLORESCENCE: scapose, the pedicels to 21 cm long. FLOWERS: sepal lobes 1 2 mm long, ear like; petals almost white to pale blue or violet, the tips acute, the 3 lower petals purple veined at base, the lateral 2 usually white bearded, the lowest petal (including spur) 8 17 mm long. FRUITS: 6 7 mm long, glabrous. 2n = 48. NOTES: Bogs, stream sides: Coconino co.; 2200 2400 m (7200 7900 ft); May Jul; circumboreal, n Eur. and Asia, AK to Labrador; WA s to n CA, e to CO, ME, NH. Known in AZ only from vicinity of Woods Canyon Lake; confused with V. palustris L. REFERENCES: Little, R. John. 2001. Violaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Volume 33(1).
Perennial herb 5 - 15 cm tall Leaves: basal, long-stalked, obscurely round-toothed or almost non-toothed, hairless, dull green (lower surface often orangish when dry), 1 - 8 cm long, 1 - 6 cm wide, broadly heart-shaped to kidney-shaped with mostly rounded or blunt tip. The leaf stalks are sometimes hairy, and the green stipules are usually more than 7 mm long. Flowers: long-stalked (same height or taller than leaves), white, often fragrant, 0.7 - 1 cm long, bilaterally symmetric with two upper petals, two lateral petals, and lower petal with base modified into a rounded nectar spur. In the summer, producing slender prostrate or erect stalks terminated by very fertile flowers that do not open (cleistogamous). Sepals: five, green, linear to lance-shaped with ear-like appendages (auricles) at the base. Petals: five, separate, all differently shaped, the lower three with brown-purple veins near base. The upper two petals are inversely egg-shaped, the two lateral petals sometimes have a few straight and spreading hairs near the base, while the hairless lowest petal is prolonged at its base into a short, rounded spur or sac. Stamens: five, separate, but very tightly arranged so anthers touch as they surround ovary. The filaments are very short, and the lower two stamens have spur-like nectaries on their backs that extend into the spur or sac of the lower petal. Pistil: with a single-chambered, superior ovary; and a single style that expands into a short, scoop-shaped stigma. Fruit: a many-seeded, green, hairless, 4 - 6 mm long, ellipsoid to egg-shaped capsule on long, erect stalks. The capsule opens lengthwise from its top to disperse the black seeds which have a large amount of oily endosperm, and often an appendage (aril). Stems: absent aboveground, leaves and flowers arising independently and directly from a rootstock of slender (under 3 mm diameter) rhizomes and spreading by pale, very slender, almost threadlike runners (stolons).
Similar species: Viola macloskeyi ssp. pallens is similar to V. blanda and V. renifolia, but those taxa have sharp pointed teeth on the leaves, the lower leaf surfaces are distinctly paler and never orange, the leaves usually have some hairs on either surface (or the upper side hairless and shiny), plus the capsules are flecked with purple and held on reclining, arching, or prostrate stalks.
Flowering: April to June
Habitat and ecology: Not common, local in shaded boggy and marshy sites.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Notes: This plant was previously separated as a distinct species under the name V. pallens. The typical subspecies, V. macloskeyi ssp. macloskeyi, occurs primarily in California, with our subspecies being more widespread. This plant is often found closely associating with V. blanda and V. renifolia, and it can hybridize with both.
Etymology: Viola is the classical name for the genus. Macloskeyii is named after George Macloskie (1834-1920), an Irish naturalist, educator, and author. Pallens derives from the Latin for "pale".
Acaulescent, with slender creeping rhizomes, and freely stoloniferous, glabrous or variously hairy; petioles and peduncles usually greenish; lvs evidently crenate, broadly cordate-ovate to reniform, commonly 1-3 cm wide at anthesis, later to 8 cm, rounded to blunt to acutish above, the basal sinus more open than in no. 13 [Viola blanda Willd.]; fls fragrant or inodorous, on erect peduncles equaling or rising above the lvs; pet white, the 3 lower with brown-purple veins near the base, the 2 upper narrowly obovate, only slightly (or not at all) recurved, not twisted, the 2 lateral ones beardless or scantily bearded, straighter and more spreading than in no. 13; cleistogamous fls on prostrate or erect peduncles, with green, ellipsoid or ovoid frs 4-6 mm; seeds brown or nearly black; 2n=24. Springy land, and along cold streams, often in shallow water; Lab. and Nf. to B.C., s. to Del., O., Ind., Io., and in the mts. to S.C., Tenn., n. Ga., and Calif. Apr.-July. Our plants, as here described, are var. pallens (Banks) C. L. Hitchc., in contrast to the cordilleran var. macloskeyi, with smaller, less toothed lvs. (V. pallens)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.