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

Viola biflora L.
Northern Violet (arctic yellow violet; European Field Pansy; Queen Charlotte twinflower violet; twinflower violet)
Violaceae (Violet family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Alfred Cook  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #11164)

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Distribution of Viola biflora
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Viola biflora var. carlottae

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a rhizome and fibrous roots, without stolons; stems ascending to erect, smooth, leafless except on the uppermost section, 5-20 cm tall.
Basal leaves rounded to heart- or kidney-shaped, blunt- to saw-toothed, the blades 0.6-2 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, the stalks 8-16 cm long, hairy above and along the veins; stem leaves similar, the stalks shorter, equal to or longer than the blades; stipules lanceolate, 2-5 mm long, entire.
Inflorescence of single, axillary flowers; petals 5, yellow, the lower petal 9-12 mm long including the 1- to 2-mm long spur; flower stalks with distinctive purple lines; sepals 5, oblong, fringed in the upper half, and with a conspicuous purple-black stripe; style heads smooth.
Capsules, sparsely short-hairy, 8-12 mm long; seeds brown.
Hybridizes with V. glabella. The other subspecies, ssp. biflora, is widely distributed in Eurasia and also occurs in AK, YT and CO.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist rock outcrops and meadows in the montane to alpine zones; frequent on the Queen Charlotte Islands, rare on NW Vancouver Island; N to SE AK.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Viola biflora

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) 150 801 1330
Slope Gradient (%) 0 52 115
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
150 167 180
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 4 6
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: CMA(1), CWH(1), MH(3)

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References