Downy Yellow Violet

2019 August 25

Continuing with June 3, 2019, we found these yellow flowers just a little way down the trail from the Dog Violets I posted last week.


These are also violets, but they are Downy Yellow Violets, Viola pubescens.


It feels weird to be talking about yellow violets, since “violet” is the name of a color. It actually kind of looks like only a minority of violets are, in fact, violet-colored. They come in a whole rainbow of colors. Go figure.

Anyway, these are a perennial violet that have their showy blossoms in the spring. However, according to the Wikipedia article, they actually continue to flower throughout the summer. But, the summer flowers are not intended to cross-pollinate, so they don’t have showy blossoms or produce nectar. They just self-fertilize and produce seeds that are more or less duplicates of the parent plant. So, the spring flowers give them the genetic diversity advantage that you get from cross-pollination, while the summer flowers get a big boost in seed production because they don’t have to divert resources to attracting pollinators. This trait (Cleistogamy) is apparently fairly common among violets, and extremely common in grasses.

One last thing: the downy yellow violet blossoms are, apparently, edible. But they are so tiny that I can’t imagine getting much nutritional value from them.

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