Yosemite Home » Wildflower Guide » Blue & Purple Flowers » Western Dog Violet (Viola adunca)
Western Dog Violet (Viola adunca) flower

Western Dog Violet (Viola adunca)

Aliases:  Hookedspur Violet, Sand Violet, Blue Violet, Early Blue Violet

Family:  Violet (Violaceae)

More than ten varieties of violet grow in Yosemite, but here's a quick tip for identifying this one: if it's purple, you've found Western Dog Violet. Viola adunca is the only violet violet in the park. It's widespread throughout Yosemite, but because it's got small flowers and doesn't grow much higher than your shoelaces, you'll need to be alert to spot it. I frequently see it near the beginning of the McGurk Meadow/Dewey Point trail and along the edge of Wawona Meadow on the non-highway side of the loop trail.

Blooms:  May - August

Lifespan:  Perennial

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

Size:  The plants are typically no more than half a foot tall, with the flowers generally less than an inch across.

Viola adunca etymology:  Viola is the Latin term for violet (the color), and adunca is a form of aduncum, the Latin word for 'hooked', referring to the spur at the back of the flower (this is more apparent in the plant photo).

This Photo:  Along the McGurk Meadow trail, mid July

Other Resources:   CalFlora  ·  CalPhotos  ·  USDA

More Photos