Green Violet

Hybanthus concolor

Green Violet flowers
Green Violet flowers

Can a plant that is almost 3 feet tall really be a violet?  It turns out it can, based on some of the technical features of the flower. Unlike the violets that you are already familiar with, this member of Violaceae has tiny green flowers, hairy stems, and alternate, elliptical leaves that can grow up to 6 inches in length.

Green Violet flowers are shaped somewhat like lily-of-the-valley flowers. The five green petals hang downward and then five thin green sepals enclose them.  These pendant blooms can easily go unnoticed because they are very small, situated close to the leaf axils and are the same color as the stems and leaves.

I found this selection of green violets growing on limestone soils, in rich, moist woods in the Ellett Valley, outside of Blacksburg, VA. This plant emerges early in April and then flowers in May and June.

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