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

Viola sempervirens Greene
trailing yellow violet (evergreen violet)
Violaceae (Violet family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Doug Murphy  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26311)

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Distribution of Viola sempervirens
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a scaly rootstalk, with stolons; stems erect, finely hairy, 2-10 cm tall.
Basal leaves evergreen, heart- to kidney-shaped, sometimes lanceolate, the blades 2-5 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, toothed, mottled with reddish-brown spots, the stalks 2-10 cm long; stem leaves few, similar, reduced; stipules brownish, membranous, lanceolate, entire or slender-toothed.
Inflorescence of single, axillary flowers; petals 5, yellow, the lower petal 5-15 mm long including the 1- to 2-mm long, pouched spur, the lower 3 purplish-pencilled, the lateral pair yellow-bearded; sepals 5, lanceolate; style heads short-bearded.
Capsules, smooth, purplish-mottled; seeds brown.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist woodlands and forests in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in SW BC, rare in SE BC (Kootenay Lake); N to SE AK and S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Viola sempervirens

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) 0 487 1980
Slope Gradient (%) 0 26 200
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 266 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
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: CWH(252), ESSF(12), ICH(3), IDF(4), MH(15), SBS(4)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade- tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American forb distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-medium soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing latitude and continentality. Common in mossy understories on water-shedding sites; occasionally persist on cutover areas.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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 cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Viola sarmentosa Dougl. ex Hook.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References