51. Viola purpurea Kellogg, Pacific (San Francisco). 2 Feb., 1855: unnumb. 1855.
Plants perennial, caulescent, not stoloniferous, 1.5–25 cm. Stems 1–5(–7), decumbent or spreading to erect, leafy proximally and distally, ± glabrous, puberulent, canescent, or tomentose, on caudex from subligneous rhizome. Leaves basal and cauline; basal: 1–6; stipules adnate to petiole, forming 2 linear, membranous wings, wing margins entire or laciniate, each wing with lanceolate to ± deltate projection, margins entire or laciniate, apex acute to long-acuminate; petiole 1.8–14.5 cm, puberulent to tomentose; blade purplish, purple-tinted, or gray-green abaxially, gray, green, or gray-green adaxially, sometimes shiny adaxially, ovate, orbiculate, oblong, deltate, or lanceolate, 0.8–5.3 × 0.4–4.1 cm, often fleshy, base cordate, subcordate, truncate, or attenuate, oblique or not, margins usually ± crenate, serrate, dentate, or coarsely or irregularly repand-dentate, sometimes entire, usually ciliate, apex acute to obtuse or rounded, surfaces glabrous, puberulent, or tomentose; cauline similar to basal except: stipules linear, lanceolate, oblanceolate, or ± oblong to ovate, margins entire, lacerate, or laciniate, usually ciliate, apex sometimes divided into 2–3 filiform processes or obtuse; petiole 0.3–19.7 cm, glabrous or puberulent; blade ovate, oblong, elliptic, deltate, or lanceolate, 0.9–5.2 × 0.2–2.9 cm, length 0.8–7.1 times width, margins crenate, serrate, dentate, repand-denticulate, undulate-denticulate, sinuate, undulate, or entire, abaxial surface puberulent, canescent, or tomentose, adaxial surface glabrous, sparsely pubescent, puberulent, canescent, or tomentose. Capsules ovoid to ± spherical, 4–7 mm, puberulent. Seeds light to dark brown or mottled gray and brown, 2–3.1 mm. 2n = 12.
Varieties 7 (7 in the flora): w North America, nw Mexico.
Varieties of Viola purpurea are variable and intergrade. All are found in California; six occur in other western states, one in Mexico, and one in British Columbia. Mature plants are needed for determination.