European field pansy
Scientific NameViola arvensis
Other Common Names:
Synonyms (former Scientific Names):
Viola tricolor var. arvensis
Small winter annual weed common in the northeastern US and has attractive white/yellow/purple flowers on long slender stalks. Plants range from 4 to 10 in tall. Seeds are dispersed in the spring and germinate in fall.
Young seedlings have small (3 to 5 mm) cotyledons. The first five to ten leaves are oval and have rounded teeth on the margins. These first leaves are born on stalks that are nearly as long as the leaf. Subsequent leaves are arranged alternately but form a basal rosette. Leaves usually lack hairs although some hairs may be found on the main stem or under side of the leaf. Leaves have rounded teeth. Leaves on flowering stalks are more linear while those on lower plant parts are oval. Flowering stalks also have stipules that are divided into 5 to 9 linear segments.
Flowers are the typical violet type and are white with yellow and purple markings. Flowers are born on long stalks. The plant is more stemy than other violets and grows to over 10 in tall. Roots smell like wintergreen gum when crushed.
Flower Seed Head
Flowers are white with yellow markings and often with purple accents born on long stalks (peduncles) that arise from leaf axils. Each flower is 1 inch in diameter. Flowers have 5 petals arranged with four on top and one larger petal on the bottom.
Many seeds are contained in a single oval fruit pod at the end of long slender stalks. Each fruit capsul is 5 to 10 mm long and contains numerous 1 mm diameter seeds.
Field violet is a weed of turf, nurseries, and waste places. It may also be found in winter crops like small grains.
prostrate and nonwoody
Thorns or Spines
Approximate Flower Diameter
Dominant Flower Color
shorter than leaf,
longer than leaf
Stem Cross Section
round or oval