Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Plant Quiz Solved - Viola pedata!

Good call, Scott! It is Viola pedata, Birdfoot Violet, a denizen of the dry country. It's especially at home in dry sand among a thin growth of Black Oak and Sassafras in the northern third of Indiana. Charles Deam also found it on sandstone ridges in a few counties along the southern edge of the state.

Birdfoot Violet at Ober Savanna Nature Preserve, Starke County, Indiana

The winter leaves are markedly different than those of the growing season. In winter, the leaves are coriaceous (thick and leathery), on very short petioles, usually very purple, and the lobes are short and wide. New leaves emerge in spring with long and very narrow lobes. Here's a photo of purple winter leaves and the old, withered leaves lying on the ground.

Here's a clue: some plants produce winter leaves that are shaped a little different than those of spring and summer. Also, here's another photo that offers a few more clues. This is an Indiana native plant, photographed December 23, 2011. Good luck!


Nick said...

My first thought was Pachysandra procumbens, that's evergreen, but doesn't look quite right for that and that doesn't grow in your neck of the woods anyway.

Kind of looks like Ranunculaceae or Saxifragaceae.

How about maybe Anemone quinquefolia?

Keith Board said...

All good thoughts, but no, it's none of those...

Anonymous said...

A Potentilla?

Keith Board said...

Excellent try but nope, it's not a Potentilla.

Scott Namestnik said...

It's rare that I actually get a chance to look at quizzes anymore before they're already answered! This looks like Viola pedata.