Cubelium concolor (Eastern Green Violet)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Violaceae (Violet)
Life cycle:perennial
  • State Endangered
Habitat:shade; average moisture; rich deciduous forest, wooded slopes, floodplains, ravines
Bloom season:May
Plant height:1 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: none MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
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: bell Flower shape: irregular

[photo of flowers] Flowers are solitary or in clusters of 2 or 3, arising from leaf axils along most of the stem. Each flower is at the tip of a slender, sparsely hairy stalk ¼ to about 1 inch long that is jointed and nods in the upper half.

[close-up of flower] Flowers are light green to greenish-white, up to ¼ inch (3 to 6 mm) long, somewhat bell-shaped with 5 oblong petals, the lowest of which is slightly longer and broader than the rest. Surrounding the base are 5 linear sepals that are slightly shorter than the petals. Cleistogamous flowers (self-pollinating flowers that do not open) may form in the upper leaf axils late in the season.

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

[photo of leaf] Leaves are alternate, 1 to 5½ inches (to 14 cm) long, ½ to ~2 inches (to 5.5 cm) wide, mostly toothless, and usually short-hairy. The lowest leaves are smallest and often rounded at the tip, quickly becoming larger and tapering to a pointed tip, often abruptly so, and are widest at or above the middle. Leaf bases are mostly tapering to a short stalk, becoming stalkless on the upper stem. At the base of the stalk is a pair of short, linear, leaf-like appendages (stipules).

[photo of stem hairs] Stems are erect, round to weakly angled in cross-section, hairy, and unbranched. Clumps are formed from short, thick rhizomes.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is an oblong-elliptic capsule ½ to ~1 inch (15 to 23 mm) long, becoming erect and splitting into 3 sections at maturity, containing 6 to 9 creamy white to tan seeds.


Eastern Green Violet, formerly Hybanthus concolor, is one of the rarest species in Minnesota, first recorded in 1999 at a single location in Winona County. As of the DNR's 2013 rare species update, this one population of about 20 plants was the only known site, even after targeted surveys of what should be suitable habitat, and it was listed as a State Endangered species at that time. Since then 2 or 3 other locations have been discovered (see map), and perhaps more will yet be found. Its shady, undisturbed, rich forest habitat is perpetually at risk from incompatible human uses as well as invasive species, Garlic Mustard and Buckthorn in particular. At the Winona location where we took our photos, we could see the weeds moving in to take over, and without ongoing management it is only a matter of time before Eastern Green Violet meets its demise along with the other natives in this once pristine habitat.

At a casual glance, the leaves might be mistaken for some other woodland species, notably one of the Stickseeds (Hackelia species) or possibly American Gromwell (Lithospermum latifolium), but a quick inspection under the leaves reveals the long-stalked, dainty, dangling flowers or oval capsules that distinguish Eastern Green Violet.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in Winona County. Photos by John Thayer taken in Winona County.


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