Viola sagittata (Arrow-leaved Violet)

Plant Info
Also known as: Arrowhead Violet
Family:Violaceae (Violet)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; open woods, fields, meadows
Bloom season:April - June
Plant height:4 to 8 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: irregular

[photo of flower] Single flower at the end of a smooth or hairy but otherwise naked stem. Flowers are ¾ to 1 inch across, irregular with the two upper petals somewhat elongated and aligned side-by-side, the 3 lower petals with dense tufts of white hairs (bearded) at the throat, the two laterals angled towards the lower petal. Petals are deep blue-violet to purple, white at the base, the lower petal is almost half white with dark purple venation and forms a rounded spur at the back that projects past the sepals but does not go beyond the stalk. A mature plant can be densely flowered.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are all basal, arrowhead shaped, 1½ to 4 inches long, usually at least 1.5 times long as wide, often with fine hairs around the edges (ciliate). Early leaves are more like a rounded triangle, with shallowly toothed edges and spreading out horizontally. Primary leaves become erect and narrow, the basal lobes developing pointed barb-like teeth extending abruptly from the edges. Leaf stalks and leaves can be smooth or hairy,

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a hanging ovoid capsule 1/3 to ½ inch long, containing small brown seeds.


A species of moist open woods, Arrow-leaved Violet can respond quickly from the seed bank following a fire. Populations diminsh as other successional plants re-establish and the seed bank once more waits for another fire event. It is most easily distinguished from other violets by the shape of the leaves.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka county on a private restoration in Lexington and behind Rice Creek Elementary following fire.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Misty - Chisholm
on: 2015-06-05 16:56:28

I keep seeing these wildflowers on the ground. I had to look it up, glad to put a name to the flower.

Posted by: Gary - St. Louis County
on: 2019-01-24 08:31:23

In 2004 in a jack pine (primarily)forest near the Dunka Road.

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