Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

Smooth White Violet (Northern White Violet) (Viola pallens): Images

Date Location Notes Images
April 26, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire Using the new botanical guide by Arthur Haines, Flora Novae Angliae: A Manual for the Identification of Native and Naturalized Higher Vascular Plants of New England, you can see the flow of steps used to identify this species of violet:
  • Leaves and flower stems arising from rhizomes (underground stems) or stolons (horizontal stem creeping along the ground).
  • Flower petals mostly purple, violet or white.
  • Style (thin tube in the center of flower connecting the ovary) in a scoop-shaped or conical beak. The ovary is hairless.
  • The spur (sticking out of the back of the flower) is 3.2mm long or less and less than 2 times long as it is wide.
  • Flowers relatively smaller with white petals.
  • Leaf blades 1.5 times as long (or less) as wide.
  • Inner petals of the flower (Corolla) colored white.
  • Leaf blades low-crenate (very low, rounded teeth on the edge), thin and hairless.
I could have easily mistaken this with Sweet White Violet (Viola blanda). According to all of the books I have read, they are easily confused. The leaf blade margins (edges) are low-serrate (very low saw-like teeth pointing forward). I find it almost impossible to tell whether these leaves are low-crenate or low-serrate.

Viola blanda var. blanda has a flower stem tinged in red and hairless. The last two pictures below show the flower stem. The first of the two pictures show that the top of the flower stem is tinged in red or purple, but the next picture shows that the rest of the flower stem is green. The problem with it being Viola blanda var. blanda is that the leaves of that plant come to an acute point at the tip, but the leaves of this plant have a blunt or rounded tip. The other variation, Viola blanda var. palustriformis has hairy flower stems and upper lobes of the flower that are not strongly bent back. The plant in these pictures have a hairless flower stem and upper lobes of the flower that are strongly bent backwards.
Date Location Notes Images
May 19, 2012 Central, New Hampshire (Southern White Mountains) Three separate patches of Smooth White Violet on the trail. I separated each patch by a black image. The first patch was found along the trail. The second patch was just one plant found in grass next to a rock that was near a little waterfall. The third patch was amongst the rocks not far from water and a waterfall. Notice that the lateral petals do not have significant hairs, that the leaf margin is low-crenate and/or sub-entire, the leaves are hairless and that the leaves are not cordate-orbicular (nearly circular with a heart-shaped notch at the base) to reniform (kidney-shaped and wide)(which might indicate Viola renifolia).