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

Viola adunca Sm.
Sand Violet (Cascades early blue violet; Common Periwinkle; early blue violet; hookedspur violet; Large Periwinkle)
Violaceae (Violet family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Kevin deBoer  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #21228)

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Distribution of Viola adunca
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Viola adunca var. adunca

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a rhizome, without stolons; stems lacking in spring but developing aerial stems as the season progresses, ascending, usually hairy, 2-10 cm tall.
Basal leaves egg-shaped to heart-shaped, the margins blunt-toothed, the blades 0.5-4 cm long, smooth or hairy, the stalks 5-7 cm long; stem leaves similar, sometimes few; stipules jagged or sharp-toothed (at least basally), reddish-brown or greenish, often with reddish-brown flecks, 3-10 mm long.
Inflorescence of single, axillary flowers; petals 5, blue to deep violet, lower petal 8-16 mm long including the 4- to 8-mm long spur, the spur not pouched, lowest 3 petals often whitish with purple markings, lateral pair white-bearded; sepals 5, lanceolate, 1/3 to 1/2 as long as the petals; style heads bearded with short to long hairs.
Capsules, smooth, 6-11 mm long; seeds dark brown.
A highly variable species in which a number of morphological phases have received dubious taxonomic recognition. A compact, dwarf form, smooth, with dark blue flowers, that occurs sporadically at high elevations has been described as var. bellidifolia (Greene) Harrington.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to moist open woods, meadows, and roadsides; common throughout BC in all vegetation zones; N to S AK, YT and NT, E to PQ and NS and S to ME, NY, MI, MN, IO, SD, NM, UT, NV and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Viola adunca

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) 134 1046 2500
Slope Gradient (%) 0 20 230
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 196 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 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: AT(1), BAFA(8), BG(10), BWBS(17), CMA(2), CWH(9), ESSF(110), ICH(83), IDF(419), IMA(1), MH(6), MS(78), PP(65), SBPS(43), SBS(208), SWB(6)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to alpine, transcontinental North American forb. Occurs on very dry to moderately dry, nitrogen-medium soils within boreal, temperate, and mesothermal climates; its occurrence decreases with elevation and precipitation.

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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References