Tom's Blog

Friday, May 1, 2015

Prairie violet and birdfoot violet

Violets are blooming now in the prairies and are close to their peak.

There are two species of violets found in prairies. The one that tends to form patches is birdfoot violet, Viola pedata. The other species, prairie violet, Viola pedatifida, is generally more scattered. Both can be seen now at Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie and Pleasant Valley Conservancy.

Viola pedata, birdfoot violet (Kathie Brock photo)

At a distance, these two violets look very similar. There are some subtle differences in leaf structure, hairiness, and aspect of the flowers, but the best way to distinguish these is from the stamens, which in birdfoot violet are a conspicuous golden color. (See photos above.)

Right now there is a large display of birdfoot violet on the south slope of Pleasant Valley Conservancy, best reached by the trail up from the corner of Pleasant Valley Road and County F.

Don't be confused by the more common violets, such as those found in lawns and weed patches or in woods, whose leaves are whole (undissected).

A great prairie to see large displays of violets is the Nature Conservancy's Spring Green Preserve, along Jones Road off Wisconsin 23, just north of Spring Green, Wisconsin.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home