E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Viola canadensis L.
Canada violet (Canadian white violet)
Violaceae (Violet family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #12109)

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Distribution of Viola canadensis
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Viola canadensis var. rugulosa

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a rhizome, usually with stolons; stems erect, smooth to hairy, 10-40 cm tall.
Basal leaves heart-shaped, toothed, smooth to hairy, the blades 5-9 cm long, 6-12 cm wide, the stalks 15-30 cm long, smooth to hairy; stem leaves similar, the stalks shorter than the blades; stipules lanceolate, 1-2 cm long, entire or fringed.
Inflorescence of single, axillary flowers; petals 5, white, yellow-based, the lower petal 12-24 mm long including the 1- to 2-mm long spur, the lower 3 usually purplish pencilled, the lateral pair bearded; sepals 5, lanceolate, usually fringed or hairy; style heads bearded.
Capsules, egg-shaped, granular to short-hairy; seeds brown.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to dry woodlands, open forests and meadows in the lowland and montane zones; common throughout BC, except absent in extreme NW BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to PQ and S to IL, IO, NE, NM, AZ, ID and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Viola canadensis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 5 976 1920
Slope Gradient (%) -2 16 120
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 191 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(16), BWBS(131), CWH(17), ESSF(189), ICH(284), IDF(194), MH(3), MS(110), PP(12), SBPS(20), SBS(427), SWB(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References