Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Missouri violet

with 15 comments

Missouri Violet Flower by Dry Sycamore Leaf 6812

After taking the previous post’s March 2nd picture from a high point along the northern end of Spicewood Springs Rd., I went down into the woods and worked my way over to where the large sycamore trees were. Because the view from up above has been increasingly obscured in recent years by higher and higher vegetation in the foreground, I hoped for better pictures of the sycamores from down below. The ones I got were so-so, not as good as what you saw last time, but while tromping about in the lowlands I found something I hadn’t seen in Austin since 2007: some Missouri violet flowers, Viola missouriensis. Here you see one that had sprung up close to a fallen sycamore leaf. Notice how the shadows on the leaf loosely mimic the markings on the flower.

In spite of being called Missouri violet, this wildflower is native in plenty of other states, as you can confirm from the USDA map.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 15, 2016 at 4:53 AM

15 Responses

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  1. Very nice inage, Steven.


    March 15, 2016 at 5:26 AM

  2. And the coincidences just keep coming. On February 28, I was on the woodland trail at Armand Bayou. I’d hiked more miles than usual and mostly was thinking, “I hope I don’t die before I get back to the car.” Then, I saw this. It was part of a scattered patch, and I nearly died with delight. I grew up with violets as a first sign of spring, and hadn’t seen a single one since coming to Texas. It’s such a pleasure to know that, for whatever reason, they’re more widespread this year.

    I especially like the combination of flower and fallen leaf, although I saw the shadows mimicking the stems rather than the flower’s markings.


    March 15, 2016 at 6:31 AM

    • You can never have too many coincidences for my taste. Let’s hope they keep coming.

      That’s a funny thought: “I hope I don’t die before I get back to the car.” And it wasn’t even really hot yet.

      The other place where I’d found violets was in my neighborhood park (Great Hills Park), so I should probably go back to that spot and see if any have recurred. They’d been right at the edge of the main creek, so I’ve assumed subsequent high water washed them (along with seeds) away and that’s why I haven’t seen any there in the years since 2007.

      In the “not seeing the forest for the trees” category, I missed the greater similarity between the shadows and the dark stem of the violet.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 15, 2016 at 7:00 AM

  3. Not here yet. But, getting closer.

    Jim Ruebush

    March 15, 2016 at 7:45 AM

    • Here yet?
      No, sir.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 15, 2016 at 8:04 AM

      • We’ve had temps in the 50s and 60s with rains. Green leaves are coming out on bushes. Rhubarb is stirring. Grass looks greenish. Possible severe storms later today. Ah spring.

        Jim Ruebush

        March 15, 2016 at 8:17 AM

        • 91° and sunny here yesterday. It’s not even officially spring yet but many people would call that summer.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 15, 2016 at 8:21 AM

  4. Nice. I know it is really spring when the violets bloom in our backyard. No sign yet, but it won’t be long.

    Steve Gingold

    March 16, 2016 at 2:09 AM

  5. Nice. I had a Missouri violet volunteer in my front yard several years ago. Still there. Found a patch of them yesterday within a mile of my home in the nearby greenbelt. Haven’t processed the photos yet. Also took out a couple of “bastard cabbage” plants that were blooming in the greenbelt, but left the soda cans etc. for the enjoyment of those who had left them there. Thanks for the inspiration and the example of getting off the beaten path.

    Robert Kamper

    March 16, 2016 at 9:51 AM

    • What you and Shoreacres (above) have attested to, added to this find in northwest Austin, makes me think 2016 might be an unusually good year for violets. Unfortunately the Rapistrum rugosum is doing its usual spring vandalizing, as is the Torilis arvensis. I tore out all of the latter that I found in the vicinity of the out-of-season goldenrod that appeared here the other day, along with a few stray plants of the other invader elsewhere, but I’m afraid it’s a losing battle.

      As for getting off the beaten path, we photographers have to go where the plants are, at least until someone figures out a way to have them come to us (on second thought, I guess that’s what gardening is).

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 16, 2016 at 11:31 AM

  6. I’m suddenly reminded of a round sung in my childhood, a little ditty I’d not thought of in many, many years: ‘Sweet Violets’. When I tried to look it up, all I could come across was one of those humorous little misleading-innuendo songs that I’m doubtful was the source of the tiny tune I half-remembered. But the ‘wrong’ song is kind of amusing anyhow:

    Sweet Violets
    Sweeter than the roses
    Covered all over from head to toe
    Covered all over with sweet violets
    There once was a farmer who took a young miss
    In back of the barn where he gave her a lecture
    On horses and chickens and eggs
    And told her that she had such beautiful
    Manners that suited a girl of her charms
    A girl that he wanted to take in his
    Washing and ironing and then if she did
    They could get married and raise lots of
    Sweet violets
    Sweeter than the roses
    Covered all over from head to toe
    Covered all over with sweet violets
    The girl told the farmer that he’d better stop
    And she call her father and he called a
    Taxi and got there before very long
    ‘Cause some one was doin’ his little girl
    Right for a change and so that’s why he said
    If you marry her son, you’re better off single
    ‘Cause it’s always been my belief
    Marriage will bring a man nothing but
    Sweet Violets
    Sweeter than the roses
    Covered all over from head to toe
    Covered all over with sweet violets
    The farmer decided he wed anyway
    And started in planning for his wedding
    Suit which he purchased for only one buck
    But then he found out he was just out of
    Money and so he got left in the lurch
    A standin’ and waitin’ in front of the
    End of the story which just goes to show
    All a girl wants from a man is his
    Sweet Violets
    Sweeter than the roses
    Covered all over from head to toe
    Covered all over with sweet violets
    Sweet Violets


    March 21, 2016 at 11:48 AM

    • This is new to me. One website attached the name Dinah Shore to it, so apparently there’s music to go with the words.

      When I searched I turned up a quatrain by Dorothy Parker called “Sweet Violets”:

      You are brief and frail and blue—
      Little sisters, I am, too.
      You are Heaven’s masterpieces—
      Little loves, the likeness ceases.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2016 at 11:06 PM

  7. […] across Missouri violets (Viola missouriensis). The only time I showed a picture of one here was in 2016. Imagine my surprise, then, on April 1st when I discovered two little clumps of Missouri violets […]

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