Friday, May 7, 2010
Halberdleaf Yellow Violet - Viola tripartita
Halberdleaf yellow violet (Viola tripartita; syn. V. hastata) is exceedingly rare in Florida and our most unique violet species. In Florida it is only found in a small region around Torreya State Park in Gadsden County. Here it grows on steep hillsides, near the base where conditions are a bit cooler and moister. It is listed as a state endangered species. It is more common to our north, however, and is found up the Eastern Seaboard to Maryland.
Halberdleaf yellow violet is our only yellow flowered species, though others ocur in states to our north. Its growth form is quite distinctive. It arises each year in late winter and has a narrow single stem which holds its "halberd-shaped" leaves several inches above the ground. Scattered atop these plants, in late February to March are its bright yellow flowers with deep purple stripes inside the lower lip.
It is not likely that anyone will ever offer this interesting violet to the home gardener in Florida. It is also unlikely that any of us have the conditions it needs to thrive. For that reason, we should give thanks that wise leaders have set aside its Florida habitat in public lands - where we can search for a look at it at the right time of year.