Scientific Name: Viola canadensis
Common Names: Canadian White Violet, Canada Violet, Tall White Violet
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Mountain, Riparian. This mountain wildflower grows in moist, rich soil in sunny to shady locations in coniferous forests at middle to high elevations.
Flower Color: White, Pale pinkish purple
Flowering Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Height: Up to 16 inches (40 cm) tall
Description: The up to 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) wide flowers emerge from the leaf axils and have 5 round-tipped, unequal, white to light purple petals with yellow at the base and 5 green, narrowly lance-shaped sepals. The lower 3 petals are lined with dark purple at the base and the 2 lower side petals are bearded. The backs of the petals are often purple-tinged. The flowers are followed by hairless, 3-valved seed capsules that explode open when dry and expel the seeds a distance away from the parent plant. The leaves are dark green, basal and alternate, toothed, and heart-shaped with a tapering, pointed tip. The stems are erect, branched, green to brownish, and hairy or hairless.
The similarly white-flowered Small White Violet (Viola macloskeyi) has leaves with blunt tips and small flowers only up to 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) across, while Marsh Violet (Viola palustris) has leaves with broadly rounded (not pointed) tips. Field Pansy (Viola bicolor) sometimes has white flowers, but it has leaves with leaflike, deeply lobed stipules.
Edible – The tender young leaves, flowers, and flower buds are edible either raw or cooked. The leaves can also be used to make tea or to thicken soups. The flowers make an attractive addition to salads.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Violaceae – Violet family
Genus: Viola L. – violet
Species: Viola canadensis L. – Canadian white violet
More About This Plant
Arizona County Distribution Map
Canadian White Violet (Viola canadensis) – The Firefly Forest