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Mountain Violet in bloom along the Hite Cove trail

Mountain Violet (Viola purpurea)

Family:  Violet (Violaceae)

Aliases:  Goosefoot Violet

At first glance, this may appear to be another randomly named wildflower. However, the backs of the upper petals are purple, so there is some logic involved. It may be a style of logic that would lead to stoplights being called "yellows", but at least it's logic.

Habitat:  Dry, open areas up to 8,000 feet. I've seen it at elevations ranging from Hite Cove to Wawona Meadow.

Blooms:  March - June

Lifespan:  Perennial

Origins:  Native (see distribution maps for California and US/Canada)

Viola purpurea etymology:  Viola is the Latin word for violet, and purpurea comes from the Latin word purpura, meaning purple or deep red. So Viola purpurea means a violet that really, truly is purple, which is a bit unexpected given that the Viola purpurea flower is, for the most part, yellow.

This Photo:  On the Hite Cove trail, early April

Other Resources:   CalFlora  ·  CalPhotos  ·  USDA