Viola appalachiensis - L.K. Henry
Appalachian Blue Violet
Other English Common Names: Appalachian Violet
Other Common Names: Appalachian violet
Synonym(s): Viola walteri var. appalachiensis (Henry) McKinney ex S.P. Grund & B.L. Isaac
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Viola appalachiensis Henry (TSN 507259)
French Common Names: violette des Appalaches
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.149051
Element Code: PDVIO04030
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Violet Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Violales Violaceae Viola
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Viola appalachiensis
Taxonomic Comments: Considered a distinct species (hybrid-derived) by Ballard and Wujek (1994); H. Ballard remains of the opinion that it is a distinct good species. Prior to that work, McKinney (1986) had argued that it was not distinct from V. walteri; currently, he recognizes it as the distinct variety V. walteri var. appalachiensis (McKinney and Russell 2002). This varietal status aligns with FNA (vol. 6, 2015). See Grund and Isaac (2007) for further taxonomic discussion.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 21Apr2009
Global Status Last Changed: 21Apr2009
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Although this species has a relatively limited mid-Appalachian range and only about 60 documented occurrences are presumed extant, it is thought to be often overlooked and more sites have been located recently. In addition, it appears to respond positively to human disturbance, such that its apparent relative rarity may overstate the conservation concern; in fact, it may be more common today than it was before human settlement. Threats are believed to be low overall and include competition with invasive species such as Microstegium vimineum, succession (caused by, e.g., changes in mowing frequency), and road widening.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Maryland (S3), North Carolina (S2), Pennsylvania (S3S4), West Virginia (S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: This element is regionally endemic to West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina; the North Carolina occurrences are disjunct from the rest of the range. There are no reports of the species from Virginia. The greatest concentration of the species may be in Somerset County, Pennsylvania; occurrences are also now know from further north in Pennsylvania than once thought (S. Grund, pers. comm. 2009).

Area of Occupancy: 126-2,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Approximately 60 occurrences are believed extant, mostly in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, with fewer in Maryland and North Carolina. An additional 23 historical occurrences are known, almost entirely in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It is believed that additional occurrences likely remain to be discovered; some new occurrences have been discovered in the past 10 years (Grund and Isaac 2007).

Population Size Comments: Abundant at some locations. Perhaps 10,000-15,000 individuals have been estimated within known occurrences. Acutal population size is likely larger, as this species may often be overlooked (Concannon, J.; McDonald, B.; Mitchell, R. pers comm, 1996).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some (13-40)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Approximately 20-22 occurrences are believed to have excellent or good viability thus far; additional occurrences are believed extant but have not yet been assessed for viability.

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats to this species are relatively low. Threats may include increased competition from invasive species. For example, Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum) is increasing within its range; although it is unclear whether competition with the Microstegium is a direct threat at present, it may become one in the future. Many land disturbances often perceived as threats may actually be of benefit to the species, as it is often found in areas that are routinely mowed, on dirt roads, and in old fields; succession may be a threat at some sites. For some roadside sites, potential reductions in mowing frequency may be a threat (allowing competing species to increase), along with more typical road-related threats such as herbicide spraying and road widening. Minor threats include land-use conversion, habitat fragmentation, and forest management practices (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002); for example, one North Carolina site is threatened by second home development, and some logging-related impacts may be problematic, although the species was observed to initially increase following logging at at least one site. Other issues noted for one or a few sites include trampling, heavy ORV use, browsing, exposure to acid mine drainage, and overgrazing of the pasture in which plants were located.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable to increase of <25%
Short-term Trend Comments: Although Viola appalachiensis is regionally restricted, it is likely that additional occurrences will be discovered for this element. Several field biologists believe that it is often overlooked and is more common than intially thought (Concannon, J.; McDonald, B.; Mitchell, D., pers. comm. 1996). Indeed, both its known range and the proportion of the range known to be occupied have increased in the past 10 years, as a result of new site discoveries (Grund and Isaac 2007). Habitat at many known locations was generated and is being maintained by anthropogenic processes (Grund and Isaac 2007); it is unlikely that available habitat will decline in the near future.The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program is fairly confident that the species is not declining in Pennsylvania (S. Grund pers. comm. 2009), and it seems to be doing reasonably well in West Virginia as well (E. Byers pers. comm. 2009).

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Occurrences can be on disturbed land; however, this element is regionally restricted.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow to moderate.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: This element is regionally endemic to West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina; the North Carolina occurrences are disjunct from the rest of the range. There are no reports of the species from Virginia. The greatest concentration of the species may be in Somerset County, Pennsylvania; occurrences are also now know from further north in Pennsylvania than once thought (S. Grund, pers. comm. 2009).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States MD, NC, PA, WV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
MD Garrett (24023)
NC Clay (37043), Jackson (37099), Macon (37113), Swain (37173)
PA Cambria (42021), Crawford (42039), Erie (42049), Fayette (42051), Potter (42105)*, Somerset (42111), Warren (42123)
WV Barbour (54001), Clay (54015)*, Fayette (54019), Grant (54023), Nicholas (54067), Pocahontas (54075), Preston (54077), Randolph (54083), Tucker (54093), Webster (54101)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Upper West Branch Susquehanna (02050201)+, Sinnemahoning (02050202)+*, North Branch Potomac (02070002)+
05 Upper Allegheny (05010001)+, French (05010004)+, Conemaugh (05010007)+, Tygart Valley (05020001)+, Upper Monongahela (05020003)+*, Cheat (05020004)+, Youghiogheny (05020006)+, Gauley (05050005)+, Elk (05050007)+*
06 Upper Little Tennessee (06010202)+, Tuckasegee (06010203)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A low-growing herb with perennial stems which first grow upright but eventually lay flat and grow roots, facilitating spread. Later in the season, often has a distinct mat-forming habit. Leaves are wide and heart-shaped with shallow, rounded teeth. Flowers are pale violet with darker stripes, with one petal forming a spur that extends behind the corolla (Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program 2007).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from Viola conspersa by its perennial stems; V. conspersa has deciduous stems which die away every year. Differs from Viola walteri by its almost entirely smooth leaves; the leaves of V. walteri are covered in fine hair (Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program 2007).
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Barrens, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Forest Edge, Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous, Old field, Suburban/orchard
Habitat Comments: Usually occurs within a rich, moist forest community matrix, such as mixed mesophytic forest, mesic oak-hickory forest, or cove forest. Within these settings, plants generally occur in partially open to open sites, generated naturally or by human disturbance. These sites include streambanks, floodplains, serpentine barrens, glades, clearings, forest edges, roadsides, old railroad grades, dirt roads, trailsides, old fields, pastures, lawns, and parks. In habitats that are kept open by mowing, there seems to be an optimal mowing frequency that promotes the species' persistence.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: This element is disturbance-related and occurs in many areas impacted by humans. It would benefit from control of competing invasive species at some sites (Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program 2007). Reducing habitat fragmentation and land-use conversion would also likely be beneficial (Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program 2007). Other potential stewardship acitvities may be limited to monitoring.
Restoration Potential: Restoration potential is good. This element will colonize disturbed areas.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Due to the disturbance related nature of this element, preserves may not be the most practical method conserving this species.
Management Requirements: No management requirements were identified.
Monitoring Requirements: Sites that have not been visited within the last 5 years should be revisited.

Management Programs: One site in Maryland is a TNC Preserve.
Management Research Programs: No management research programs were identified.
Management Research Needs: None currently identified.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 26Jan1998
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Walton, D. (1996), rev. L. Morse (1998), rev. K. Gravuer (2009)
Management Information Edition Date: 22Jul1996
Management Information Edition Author: Walton, D. West Virginia Heritage Program, Elkins, WV 26241-0067 (304) 637-0245

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Ballard, H.E. & D.E. Wujek. Evidence for the recognition of Viola appalachiensis. Systematic Botany 19(4): 523-538.

  • Ballard, H.E. and D.E. Wujek. 1994. Evidence for the recognition of Viola appalachiensis. Systematic Botany 19(4): 523-538.

  • Ballard, H.E., Jr. 1993. Three New Rostrate Violet Hybrids from Appalachia. Castanea 58(1): 1-9.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2015. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 6. Magnoliophyta: Cucurbitaceae to Droserceae. Oxford University Press, New York. 496 pp + xxiv.

  • Grund, S. P. and B. L. Isaac. 2007. Taxonomy and Lectotypification of Appalachian Blue Violet. Castanea 72(1): 58-61.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • MCKINNEY, L.E. 1986. THE TAXONOMIC STATUS OF VIOLA APPALACHIENSIS HENRY. BARTONIA 52:42-43.

  • McKinney, L.E. 1986. The taxonomic status of Viola appalachiensis Henry. Bartonia 52: 42-43.

  • McKinney, L.E. and N.H. Russell. 2002. Violaceae of the southeastern United States. Castanea 67: 369-379.

  • Natural Heritage Program Files. 1996. Unpublished.

  • Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2007. Fact Sheet: Appalachian blue violet (Viola appalachiensis). Online. Available: http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/factsheets/14866.pdf. Accessed 2009.

  • STRAUSBAUGH, P.D. & E.L. CORE, FLORA OF WV, 2ND ED.

  • Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project. 2002. A partnership between the U.S. Forest Service-Region 8, Natural Heritage Programs in the Southeast, NatureServe, and independent scientists to develop and review data on 1300+ regionally and locally rare species in the Southern Appalachian and Alabama region. Database (Access 97) provided to the U.S. Forest Service by NatureServe, Durham, North Carolina.

  • Strausbaugh, P.D. and E.L. Core. 1978. Flora of West Virginia. Second ed. Seneca Books, Inc., Grantsville, WV. 1079 pp.

  • Strausbaugh, P.D., and E.L. Core. 1978. Flora of West Virginia. Seneca Books, Inc., Grantsville, WV. 1079 pp.

  • Viola appalachiensis: Boone, D.D. SN (TAWES) 1985-06-18; Garrett County, "Youghiogheny River, south of Friendsville."

  • Viola appalachiensis: Boone, D.D. SN (TAWES) 1985-07-12; Garrett County, "along old RR bed near Casselman River, south of US 48."

  • Viola appalachiensis: McDonald, B. SN (TAWES) 1986-05-24; Garrett County, "Mayhew Inn Road."

  • Viola appalachiensis: Thompson, E. SN (TAWES) 1986-07-28; Garrett County, "west side Youghiogheny River, about 0.3 mile NE of Crellin."

  • Viola appalachiensis: Thompson, E. SN (TAWES) 1986-08-15; Garrett County, "East side of Casselman River, about 1 mile north of Rt 40."

  • Weakley, A.S. 2010. Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Working draft of 18 February 2010. University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU), NC Botanical Garden, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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