Yellow violets are fairly common around the same areas where you’ll see wild ginger, skunk cabbage and other creek-side flowers.
Like other violets yellow violet flowers have five petals and a spur, so the blossoms are easily recognized as a kind of violet.
As an aid to identification violets can be separated into two groups: stemmed violets and stemless violets. Stemmed violets bear their leaves and flowers on the same erect stalk. Stemless violets have flowers and leaves on separate stalks.
After placing your violet in the stemmed or stemless categories, inspect the leaf shape and look for
the presence or absence of fine downy hairs on the stems and leaves. Consult a field guide, like Peterson’s Field Guide to Wildflowers, for the definitive identification of your violet.
The photos presented here show a stemmed yellow violet with heart-shaped leaves. Some of the stems appeared to be smooth while others appeared with very fine hairs on the stems. Looking at the shape of the stipules would help to identify the plants as either Smooth Yellow Violet, Viola pensylvanica, if the stipules have no teeth, and Downy Yellow Violet, Viola pubescens, if the stipules are toothed.
Photos were taken 6 May 2014 at Little Buffalo State Park on the Mill Race Trail.