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Viola palustris L.

Alpine Marsh Violet

Habitat: Alpine brooksides and damp slopes. [Alpine or subalpine (non-forested, upland)]

Range: Circumboreal, from Labrador to Alaska, south to the alpine regions of Maine and New Hampshire, Michigan, and in the west to Colorado and California.

Aids to Identification: This small violet grows from a long, slender rhizome with leaves and flowers growing on different stalks. The heart-shaped leaves are 2.5-3.5 cm wide and lack veins. The flowers are 1.5 cm wide and pale lilac or nearly white with purple veins. Its flowers mature as a green capsule with seeds 1.5-1.7 mm long by 1 mm wide. It can be difficult to distinguish from the common white violet (V. macloskeyi), previously V. pallens), which grows at all elevations (though not usually alpine): seeds of V. palustris are 1.5-1.7 mm long by 1 mm wide, while those of V. macloskeyi are 1-1.4 mm long by 0.7-0.7 mm wide.

Ecological characteristics: The only occurrences of alpine marsh violet in Maine are from Mount Katahdin.

Phenology: Flowers June - August.

Family: Violaceae

Synonyms: None noted.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 1 town(s) in the following county(ies): Piscataquis.

Dates of documented observations are: 1900, 1988, 1989

Reason(s) for rarity: At southern limit of range.

Conservation considerations: Populations could be threatened by heavy recreational (hiking) use.