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Viola pubescens (Downy yellow violet)
Cressler, Alan

Viola pubescens

Viola pubescens Aiton

Downy Yellow Violet, Downy Violet, Hairy Yellow Violet, Yellow Violet, Common Yellow Violet

Violaceae (Violet Family)


USDA Symbol: vipu3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

This is a softly hairy violet, 9-12+ in. tall. The bright yellow flowers, veined with purple toward the throat, grow on leafy stems above sturdy green foliage.

Among the numerous yellow violets, the hairy nature of this species is usually distinctive. However, one variety of this species, Smooth Yellow Violet (V. pubescens var. scabriuscula), has non-hairy foliage, including 1-3 heart-shaped basal leaves. Full species of yellow violet that are both stemmed and non-hairy include the Three-part-leaved Violet (V. tripartita), a southern and western species with 3-lobed leaves, and the Prairie Yellow Violet (V. nuttallii), with lanceolate leaves. Our only "stemless" yellow Violet (with flowers and leaves on separate stalks) is the Round-leaved Yellow Violet (V. rotundifolia), with a small flower and roundish basal leaves.


From the Image Gallery

20 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 18 inches tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Dark Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV , WY
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: N.S. to SD, s. to VA uplands, MS & OK
Native Habitat: Rich, dry woods; alluvial woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Rich, dry soils.


Use Food: Flowers edible.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: This violet can be propagated by seed. If seeds are sown in flats, do not disturb the seedlings until the second year.
Seed Collection: Use wire cages over plants to deter chipmunks, if you want to collect seeds. Watch the seed pods closely and pick them just as they are about to turn tan. Drop them into a glass jar with a piece of tissue to keep them from molding.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Ground cover for trails in Northeast Texas
January 09, 2008
I have several acres of wooded land in Northeast Texas, Southern Lamar County. Both sandy and black land. I have created trails through the woods and would like to plant a native ground cover or gras...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Viola pubescens in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Viola pubescens in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Viola pubescens


Record Modified: 2023-01-04
Research By: TWC Staff

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