Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mountain violets west of Relay Peak

Yello, purple-veined flower of mountain violet (Viola purpurea), North Tahoe

Mountain violets (Viola purpurea) are common on dry slopes and in forest openings throughout Tahoe at mid elevation [1]. The shown plants were found at relatively high elevation along the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) between Relay Peak and the Slab Cliffs, in the Carson Range northeast of Lake Tahoe in northwest Nevada.

Mountain violet (Viola purpurea) along Tahoe Rim Trail

The small plants bear green, round-to-oval leaves that are deeply veined. Leaf veins and stems give the plant appearance a purplish tint. Also, the yellow flowers display brown-to-purple veins—mostly on their lower petal (top picture). The two upper petals show brown-purple splotches on their backside, seen in the picture below and in the picture above, in which the curled petals of the left flower reveal the darker underside coloration. The Latin word for purple is purpura, explaining the scientific species name.

Mountain violet (Viola purpurea) flower with brown-purple splotches
Viola purpurea is also known by the common name goosefoot violet. This violet species is found in foothill and mountain habitats of the western United States, including the Great Basin and the Sierra Nevada, for example also south of Tahoe in Yosemite [2]. 

Keywords: wildflowers, violet family (Violaceae), Carson Range, Reno-Tahoe.

References and more to explore
[1] Laird R. Blackwell: Tahoe WildflowersA Month-by-Month Guide to Wildflowers in the Tahoe Basin and Surrounding Areas. A Falcon Guide, Morris Book Publishing, LLC, 2007; page 54. 
[2] Russ Cary: Yosemite National Park Mountain Violet (Viola purpurea)  [].

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