Viola novae-angliae

Viola novae-angliae New England Violet


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Viola novae-angliae or ‘New England Violet’ is a small forb that develops a dry fruit that splits open to disperse its seed. It enjoys wetlands in part shade, sun. It mostly finds itself rooted in gravelly/rocky soil along small bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and streams. Ironically, New England Violet is quite a rare species in the New England region. 

New England Violet forms a singular flower at the end of a naked stem, typically around 3-4 inches above the leaves. Flowers are purple and have 3 petals, normally a quarter-inch long. The lower petals have long, dense hairs protruding, while the upper petals are often broad and curled back. Many call this formation ‘bearded’. Leaves are basal, meaning they form only at the base of the plant. The base of the plant is heart shaped and the leaves are triangular with a blunt tip; similar to an arrow. Younger leaves are nearly twice as long as they are wide, while later summer leaves are roughly the same width and length. Upper leaves are mostly smooth, sometimes with short, stiff hairs along the veins. Leaves along the base have stiff white hairs on the stalk, while flowering stems are mostly hairless. Viola novae-angliae bears an egg-shaped fruit about ⅓ inch long that gradually changes from light green to purple. When the fruit is ripe, the capsule hangs down and becomes erect. When the capsule splits open it flings the seeds with great force.

Viola novae-angliae is one of the larval host plants for the Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly, the Mormon Fritillary butterfly, the Coronis Fritillary butterfly, the Silver-Bordered Fritillary butterfly, the Edward's Fritillary butterfly, and the Variegated Fritillary butterfly. The caterpillars of this butterfly consume the leaves before pupating and becoming an adult butterfly.

Viola novae-angliae - New England Violet

Map Key

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

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Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds


We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants


3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*please note, we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to *MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges
SEED$100.00 and under: $5.00
over $100.00: 5% of the total seed cost

*MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders shipping to Minnesota only. Shipping & Handling Charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within a day or two upon receipt.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS outside the contiguous US or to California due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee.



Germination Code
C(60)     M
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Medium-Wet, Medium
4 inches
Bloom Time
April, May, June
Bloom Color
Catalog Number