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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Pine Violet - Viola purpurea

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3S4
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Viola purpurea occurs in the southwest and south-central portions of Montana, which is at the edge of its distribution in the western United States (FNA 2015). Plants grow in gravelly soils of meadows, grasslands, and exposed slopes from the montane to subalpine zones. Since 1899 many populations have been documented, but observation data is getting old. Habitat appears to be stable and not a limiting factor. Threats have not been identified. Current information on population locations and sizes, threats, and habitat requirements is needed to better assess its status.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Pine Violet (Viola purpurea) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 10/20/2019
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Range Extent

    ScoreF - 20,000-200,000 sq km (~8,000-80,000 sq mi)

    Comment58,690 square kilometers

    Area of Occupancy

    ScoreE - 26-125 4-km2 grid cells

    CommentPlant occurs in 34 of the 30,590 4x4 square-kilometer grid cells that cover Montana.

    Number of Populations

    ScoreC - 21 - 80

    Comment38 observations representing 37 occurrences


    ScoreD - Low

General Description
Rhizomatous, puberulent. Stems 1–3 cm, mostly subterranean. Leaf blades 5–20 mm wide, lanceolate to ovate, thick, purple-tinged, shallowly lobed; stipules lanceolate. Flowers yellow, 7–12 mm long; petals with brown lines; the lateral pair bearded; spur 1–2 mm long; style tip hairy. Capsule puberulent; 4–5 mm long (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Our plants are variety venosa (S.Watson) Brainerd.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
WA to MT south to CA, AZ and CO (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 47

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Gravelly soil of meadows, grasslands, exposed slopes; montane, subalpine (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus vagans, Bombus pensylvanicus, Bombus bimaculatus, Bombus griseocollis, and Bombus impatiens (Colla and Dumesh 2010, Williams et al. 2014).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The bumble bees of southern Ontario: notes on natural history and distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141:39-68.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 208 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Culver, D.R. 1994. Floristic analysis of the Centennial Region, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 199 pp.
    • Hawkins, P.H. 1903. The alpine flora of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis, Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 24 pp.
    • Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Pine Violet — Viola purpurea.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from