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

Viola orbiculata Geyer ex Holz.
round-leaved violet (darkwoods violet; evergreen yellow violet)
Violaceae (Violet family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #2889)

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Distribution of Viola orbiculata
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Species Information

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Perennial from a scaly rhizome, without stolons; stems erect, smooth, 3-5 cm tall.
Basal leaves evergreen (or at least some of them), round, bases deeply heart-shaped, toothed, smooth, the blades 1.5-4 cm long, 2-4 cm wide, the stalks up to 5 cm long; stem leaves similar, reduced; stipules lanceolate, entire.
Inflorescence of single, axillary flowers; petals 5, yellow, the lower petal 0.5-1.5 cm long including the 1- to 2-mm long spur, the lower 3 purplish-pencilled, the lateral pair yellow-bearded; sepals 5, lanceolate; style heads short-bearded.
Capsules, smooth; seeds brown.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist meadows and forests the montane to alpine zones; frequent in BC south of 56degreeN, absent in the Queen Charlotte Islands; E to AB, and S to WY, ID and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Viola orbiculata

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 1306 2500
Slope Gradient (%) 0 26 235
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 199 360
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(14), BWBS(21), CDF(1), CMA(3), CWH(249), ESSF(1392), ICH(1126), IDF(72), MH(20), MS(337), SBPS(11), SBS(248)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade- tolerant/intolerant, montane to alpine, Western North American forb distributed equally in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Occurs on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-medium soils within boreal, wet cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence decreases with increasing latitude. 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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Viola sempervirens var. orbiculata (Geyer ex Holz.) J.K. Henry
Viola sempervirens var. orbiculoides M.S. Baker

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References