[The Violet Family East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet

Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa

Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa

Flower of Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa ((Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa))

The photo above shows a close-up of the flower of canary violet as seen high in the Columbia Hills at the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge.........May 1, 2005. The backs of the upper 4 petals appears to be solid yellow as seen in other photos of this flower.

Fleshy basal leaf of Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa ((Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa))The photo at right shows the wide leaf blade of canary violet from the crest of the Columbia Hills, north of Dallesport, WA........May 14, 2006. A closeup of the leaf is seen further below.

Characteristics:

Upland yellow violet or canary violet is an attractive dryland violet with clumps of green leaves and several bright yellow flowers found on stems (to 15 cm high) that are about equal in height to the leaves. The leaf blades range from smooth to copiously covered with minute hairs, the blades narrowly elliptic lanceolate to ovate or lanceolate, depending on the variety. The margins are entire or wavy-margined, or occasionally lightly toothed. The blades range from 2-10 cm in length, while the long thin petioles range from 3-15 cm long.

The flowers are bright yellow, from 5-15 mm long with a short spur. The upper 2 petals may be clear yellow on the back (as in variety bakeri) or may have brownish backs (as in the other varieties). The lower 3 petals are penciled with brownish-purple lines in the throat.


The former Viola nuttallii species has been split into the following new species:

Yellow Prairie Violet, Baker's Violet: Viola bakeri (formerly Viola nuttallii var. bakeri) - Upper petals not rusty brown-colored on their backs. Flowers 5-12 mm long. Leaf blades 2-5 cm long. Capsules glabrous. Generally limited to the Cascade Mts from Mt. Adams south to California.

Upland Yellow Violet, Wavyleaf Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. linguifolia (formerly Viola nuttalli var. major) - Backs of upper petals generally rusty brown in color. Flowers 8-15 mm long. Leaf blades 5-10 cm long, glabrous to moderately hairy, and not noticeably fleshy. Blades elliptical in outline, the base tapering to the petiole. Capsules mostly hairy. Generally found east of the Cascade Mts., extending westward into the Siskiyou Mts. in southwest Oregon.

Upland Yellow Violet, Canary Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (formerly Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa) - Backs of upper petals generally rusty brown in color. Flowers 8-15 mm long. Leaf blades 5-10 cm long, generally strongly hairy, and thick and fleshy. Blades ovate-lanceolate in shape, the base truncate or subcordate. Capsules mostly hairy. More frequently found west of the Cascades, but occasionally found east of the Cascades.

Valley Yellow Violet: Viola vallicola (formerly Viola nuttallii var. vallicola) - Backs of upper petals generally rusty brown in color. Flowers 8-15 mm long. Leaf blades less than 5 cm long, glabrous to sparsely haired, ovate to ovate-lanceolate in outline with truncate or subcordate base. Capsules glabrous. Generally found east of the Cascade Mts.


Habitat:

Canary violet may be found in open grasslands, among sagebrush, or in open ponderosa pine or oak forests.


Range:

Canary violet is found east of the coastal mountains from British Columbia south to California and east to the central United States.


Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa) - Leaves of Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa)

Canary violet as seen at left along the Line Butte Trail #807 about one-half mile above the Fawn Creek Trailhead, southeast side of Lookout Mountain, Ochoco National Forest..........May 22, 2017. The photo at right shows upland canary violet leaves along a moist drainage in ponderosa pine forest between upper Rock and Box Canyon Creeks, East Simcoe Mountains Unit of the Klickitat Wildlife Area.......June 5, 2020.

Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa ((Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa) - Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa ((Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa))

Canary violet as seen at Brooks Memorial State Park near Satus Pass, Washington...........May 11, 2014.

Back of the upper petals of Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa) - Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa)

What appears to be canary violet as seen along FS Road #2230 between Mount Pisgah and East Point, Ochoco National Forest........June 13, 2015. Note the brownish-backed upper petals, and leaves which have irregularly crenate margins that are somewhat truncate at the base.

Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa) - Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa) - Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa)

Canary violet as seen along the Mother Lode Mine Trail #808A to Lookout Mountain, Ochoco National Forest........June 15, 2015. Note again the narrow leaves, some of which appear to have entire margins while others are irregularly crenate.

Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa) - Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa)

Canary violet observed at Brooks Memorial State Park.....May 4, 2021.

Close-up sideview of a flower of Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa ((Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa)) - Flower of Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa ((Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa))

Close-up front and sideviews of the flower of canary violet as seen from the crest of the Columbia Hills..........May 14, 2006. Note that the backs of the upper petals are yellow rather than rusty colored.

Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa) - Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa)

Leaf blade base of Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa) - Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa (Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa)

Canary violet as seen along the Round Mt. South Trail #805 within the first mile and a half of the southern trailhead, Ochoco National Forest.........May 28, 2016. Not the ovate blades with squared off base.

Dorsal surface of a basal leaf of Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa ((Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa)) - Ventral surface of a basal leaf of Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa ((Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa))

Spreading hairs on a leaf of Canary Violet, Upland Yellow Violet, Yellow Montane Violet: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa ((Synonyms: Viola nuttallii ssp. praemorsa, Viola nuttallii var. praemorsa))

The photos above shows closeups of the upper and lower leaf surfaces of a leaf from the plant seen in the photograph above. The breadth of the leaf is probably atypical from those usually seen in the Columbia River Gorge, which typically are narrower and more elliptical, tapering gradually both to a tip and to the petiole. Note that the petioles and leaf margins have some spreading hairs.

Paul Slichter