Most certainly NOT

Harvey E. Ballard, Jr. ballardh at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Mon Jun 8 14:59:02 CDT 1998

The state flower of Wisconsin is "Viola papilionacea Pursh", and has never
been V. glabella!  The name Viola papilionacea, unfortunately, refers to
one of two things depending on whether you resort to the majority opinion
of the application of the name (common usage), or the actual holotype sheet
that resides in the British Museum.  Most authorities in the past have used
that name to refer to a trivial glabrous morph of Viola sororia Willd., the
widespread mesic forest violet, a form that is otherwise identical to
villous plants growing in the same population in the wild and is also in
cultivation, and escaped to city woodlots.

But the type material represents typical plants of Viola affinis
LeConte--ugh!  Evidently nobody in the earlier days decided it was worth
pursuit in the European herbaria to search for Pursh's type material, and
so assumed that the application of the name V. papilionacea to glabrous
plants of V. sororia must be "correct".

Happily, they all make good violet jelly!

Harvey Ballard

Harvey E. Ballard, Jr., Assistant Professor, Plant Evolution and Systematics
Department of Environmental and Plant Biology
Porter Hall, Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701
(740) 593-4659 (office & lab phone)
(740) 593-1130 (fax)
email: ballardh at

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