striped cream violet (Viola striata)
striped cream violet
common white violet
SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS: There are no scientific synonyms for
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of striped cream
violet is Viola striata Aiton.
There are several Viola spp. (Violets) that produce white flowers. The
striped cream violet belongs to a group of violets that produce their
leaves and flowers from stems; other violets produce their flowers and
leaves directly from their root system in the ground. The striped cream
violet produces unusually large stipules at the base of its leaves (up to 1"
long); the margins of these stipules have abundant fringe-like teeth. This
latter characteristic separates this species from other white-flowered
violets. The species Viola canadensis (Canada violet) produces white
flowers from stems, but its stipules are quite small and they lack conspic-
uous teeth along the margins. A form of the common blue violet, Viola
pratincola alba, produces white flowers, but this is a stemless violet.
Other common names for Viola striata are cream violet and pale violet.
NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States and Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: This native perennial plant produces a stem about ½1' long that
often sprawls across the ground or leans against adjacent vegetation. This
stem is light green and hairless.
Leaves: The blades of the alternate leaves are up to 2½" and 2" across;
they are orbicular-cordate, medium green, mostly hairless, and crenate
along the margins. While some young leaves are initially pubescent, they
later become mostly hairless. The petioles of these leaves are rather stout
and hairless; they are about as long as the blades of the leaves. At the base
of each petiole, there is a large stipule up to 1" long that is lanceolate or
narrowly ovate. These stipules are light green and hairless; there are
linear to lanceolate teeth along their margins.
Flowers: Individual flowers develop from the upper axils of the leaves
on slender pedicels; the pedicels of these flowers may be 4" long or longer.
Each flower is about ¾" across; its corolla consists of 5 rounded white
petals, while its calyx consists of 5 light green sepals. The two lower lateral
petals have fine white hairs (or beards) near the throat of the corolla; the
lowermost petal has purple lines that function as nectar guides. The spur
of the corolla is rather short and blunt. The throat of the corolla isn't yellow.
There is no noticeable floral scent.
Fruit/Seeds: At maturity, each seedpod splits open into 3 parts to eject its
seeds. These seeds are about 2 mm. across, globoid in shape, and brown.
Roots: The root system produces rhizomes and fibrous secondary roots.
This plant can form clonal offsets through its rhizomes. It sometimes forms colonies.
REGENERATION PROCESS: If the flowers are cross-pollinated,
they will produce tripartite seedpods. Later in the year, inconspicuous
cleistogamous flowers are produced amid the foliage, and they are self-
fertile. Mature seedpods can mechanically eject their seeds several inches.
These seeds are small and brown. The root system produces rhizomes
and fibrous secondary roots. This plant can spread vegetatively through
HABITAT TYPES: Habitats include moist to mesic deciduous wood-
lands, riverbanks in wooded areas, woodland borders, moist meadows,
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Striped cream violet prefers light shade to
partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and a rich loamy soil. This species
doesn't invade lawns because its stems are too long.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs from mid-
spring to early summer and lasts about 1½ months.
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Striped cream violet is a species primarily
of the eastern part of the United States. It is found from Georgia in the south
to portions of New England (Vermont and Maine excluded), west to Okla-
homa. It occurs to the Mississippi River states, on both sides, but does
not generally extend westward into the Great Plains, Gulf Coast region,
southwest states, Rocky Mountain states, or the far western and north-
western states. It has be reported occurring only in Ontario province and
no other regions of Canada.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: The flowers are pollinated by bees, partic-
ularly Osmia spp. (Mason Bees) and Andrena spp. (Andrenid Bees). One
of these species, Andrena violae (violet andrenid bee), is an oligolege of
Viola spp. (Violets). Sometimes bee flies, butterflies, and skippers visit
the flowers for nectar, but they are less effective at pollination. The cater-
pillars of fritillary butterflies and several species of moths feed on violets.
The seeds of upland gamebirds eat the seeds of violets to a limited extent,
including the mourning dove, ruffed grouse, bobwhite, and wild turkey.
The seeds are also eaten by the white-footed mouse, while the foliage is
eaten to a limited extent by the cottontail rabbit.
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