Scientific Name: Viola arvensis

Common Name: European field pansy

Other Common Names: field pansy, wild violet

Synonyms: Viola tricolor var. arvensis

Habit: 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.

Leaves: 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.

Identifying Characteristics: 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.

Seed Fruit: 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.

Where Found: Field violet is a weed of turf, nurseries, and waste places. It may also be found in winter crops like small grains.

  • Life cycle: winter annual

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Violaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: whorled; alternate

  • Leaf shape: lance

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: entire; serrated

  • Stem hairs: no hairs

  • Flower color: blue; purple; white; yellow

  • Growth habit: prostrate and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: no hairs; has hairs

  • Flower diameter: dime; quarter; nickle

  • Flower symmetry: bilateral symetry; radial symetery

  • Root structure: fibrous

  • Leaf stalk: shorter than leaf; longer than leaf