Violet, Field, Viola arvensis

Life Cycle



Reproducing only by seed.


Erect and short or much-branched and somewhat spreading (Figure 5), up to 30cm long. Fleshy or succulent, with or without fine hair.


Leaves of seedlings and young plants are very small, with long stalks, rounded blades, a few shallow teeth, and very small stipules (Figure 1). The stem leaves of older plants are alternate (1 per node), larger, oval to oblong or nearly linear and with a few coarse rounded teeth (Figure 4). The stipules of stem leaves are large, resembling leaf blades, deeply dissected with long thin, terminal lobe and several, narrow, shorter segments on either side.

Flowers and Fruit

Flowers on long thin stalks form axils of leaves contain pale yellow, white and purple colours, resembling those of the cultivated pansy (Figure 1) but much small, about 1-1.5cm long, and with a very short spur (2mm) at the base of the lower petal (Figure 3). The seedpods will split into 3 divisions and scattering numerous, small, brownish seeds. Flowers from early May to midsummer and occasionally in autumn.


Field violet occurs throughout most of Ontario in gardens, cereal crops, pastures, abandoned fields and waste places. It is most prevalent in Western Ontario.

Figure #1.

B. Base of young plant C. Flowering plant

Figure #2.

2 leaf seedling

Figure #3.

Leaf with coarse rounded teeth

Figure #4.

Pre-bloom flower

Figure #5.

Purplish-yellow flower

Figure #6.

Pale yellow flower

Figure #7.

Whole plant

Figure #8.

Seedpod with small roundish seeds