Weed of the Month: Wild Violet

Wild violet forms dense colonies and thrives in pastures frequently mowed.

Photo: University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment

Common name: Wild Violet (also blue violet, meadow violet)
Scientific name: Viola papilionacea Pursh

Life Cycle: Perennial
Origin: United States
Poisonous: No

Wild violet is distributed widely throughout the eastern United States and occurs most frequently in highly maintained pastures, turf grass, and landscapes. This low growing plant forms dense colonies and thrives in pastures frequently mowed. Leaves are heart-shaped and flowers have five petals in a typical violet shape and blue to purple in color. It reproduces from flowers and stout rhizomes. Generally, flowers are produced from April through June, but this can vary. This plant is not susceptible to frost and grows readily in the fall and winter, depending on the severity of the winter. There are several other violet species that could be confused with this wild violet.

This plant is very difficult to control. Mowing is ineffective and only a few herbicides will provide partial control. Multiple herbicide treatments are needed for effective control. Consult your local Cooperative Extension Service personnel for information about herbicidal control in your area.

William W. Witt, PhD, a professor emeritus in plant and soil sciences at the University of Kentucky, provided this information.

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