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Teesdale Violet

Viola rupestris

  • Family: Violet Family – Violaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Rootstock erect, branchless.
  • Height: 2–6(–10) cm (0.8–2.4(–4 in.). Stem leafy, branched, usually densely short-haired.
  • Flower: Corolla zygomorphic, blue–light purple (occasionally white), approx. 1.0–1.5 cm (0.4–0.6 in.) wide; petals 5, lowest with spur (sometimes white). Sepals 5. Stamens 5. Gynoecium fused, single-styled. Flowers solitary in axils, nodding.
  • Leaves: In basal rosette and alternate on stem, stalked, stipulate. Blade kidney-shaped–cordate, with shallowly rounded teeth (crenate), densely hairy, thickish, bluish green–dark green, basal notch quite shallow. Stipules ovate-lanceolate, long-toothed.
  • Fruit: Short-haired, 3-valved capsule.
  • Habitat: Hillside and ridged slopes, hillside broad-leaved forests, rocky outcrops, sandy-soiled meadows, precipices (ssp. rupestris); fellside precipices (ssp. relicta) (is calciphile).
  • Flowering time: May–June (ssp. rupestris); July–August (ssp. relicta).
  • Endangerment: The subspecies relicta is endangered and protected in all of Finland.

Like many other plants, the structure of different violets reveals the kind of environment that it has adapted to. For instance, teesdale violet’s leaves’ abundant covering of hair has been developed to protect it from drought, to which it is sometimes exposed in sun-baked environments that have good drainage.

The subspecies relicta probably survived the Ice Age in northern Norway on an un-iced coastal fell. It is a native subspecies that is only found in Fenno-Scandinavia. Its habitat is quite compact: in Finland it only grows on the large Enontekiö Pikku-Malla and Saana fells, although it is also possible to find it elsewhere among the fells of Finland’s Lappish “arm”. Its known stands are a little on either side of forest boundaries, but always in open light-filled places on the sunny side of the fell. The subspecies favours fissures in rocks, scree beds and rock piles in lime-rich places.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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