Viola beckwithii

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Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04
Viola beckwithii

Viola beckwithii is a spectacularly beautiful violet of the eastern Sierra Nevada and northern Great Basin Steppes. Their bright little faces are seen dancing with the wind in early spring on drying meadows and sagebrush scrub. The fuzzy green/gray leaves are ternate with dissected linear leaflets. Hovering above these cushiony mounds are the pansy faced flowers. The lower petals in shades of fusha-white,with violet veins and yellow bases. The velvety upper petals are a deep maroon/purple.They often are found growing in loosely organized clonal fairy rings 12-18 inches across.

They are well adapted to the dry climate and lithosol soils. In early summer they go dormant retreating under ground until the next spring. Their growing season is form March through the middle of July. The growing point (crown? pip? bud?) is found four to six inches deep the spreading fleshy roots reaching even deeper is search of moisture.

http://www.plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VIBE2
http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?where-genre=Plant&where-taxo...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/sets/72157604298691460/

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

A remarkably violet, John. Have you tried to sow this species and grow it in your garden? It is no violet like this in Norway and I wonder if this one could grow either at my summerhouse in the mountains or at the coast.
A dwarf Violet species, V. rupestris, is growing at the mountain cabin. This too is summer dormant but not as showy as beckwithii.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

Hoy
I do grow a few plants but is hard to get it to establish.
The seed set is sparse most years because of the cool temperatures and lack of active pollinators, so timing is everything when you want to collect them. (I have not been able too collect enough seed to send to the seed exchanges yet. I still keep looking for that bumper crop to appear. I am sure that one day it will.) I scattered the seed over a suitable bed and have had only a few sprout.
So I have attempted, to transplant younger plants into the garden. Getting them out of the rocky soil, in reasonably good shape, has it's own set of challenges. In order to find them they have to be sprouting and the leaf stems are delicate and break off easily. When you are able to get down to the crown, ( by digging an ever expanding hole due to the tightly interlocked, rock and wet clay, substrait) care is needed, so that too many off the firmly anchored roots are not snapped off. All the while you are prying chunks of sharp angular rock loose.  I did find a sizeable colony, on a some what less rocky sight, that made the process a little more manageable. Six transplants have grudgingly made the move, reestablished and flower for me.

Viola rupestris is showy in it's own way! It is a lovely, delicate, little thing and I would grow it. Have you tried to move it into your other garden?

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

John, I have not tried it other places yet but it sets copious amounts of seeds so it shouldn't be difficult to try. No need for digging in difficult substrate! If you want seeds can I collect some, no problem.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

No other way to put it John, V. beckwithii is a spectacularly beautiful violet, one of the gems of the genus.  I love the foliage on these too.  Panayoti posted a photo of this on the Image of the Day topic, and I followed up with another species reminiscent of V. beckwithii, namely V. trinervata.
http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=24.msg1434#msg1434

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

I so love to see photos taken in the wild.  They say so much more about the plant.  Thanks so much, John.

Boy, with V. beckwithii having such a deep crown, there must be some very interesting childhood growth patterns to get down so far.  Did you ever notice any contractile roots or remnants?

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

Rick
Good question!
Learn something new every day. I had never heard the term "contractile roots" before. I had to look it up.
I have not noticed contractile roots, but then I never would have thought to wash one off and see.(I even learned how to use the term in a sentence ;)) They do have a one or two short rhizomes that run off a few inches from crown to crown. The only remnants I see, are a lose sheath of dead leaf stems and flowerstalks extending three to four inches above the crown. It seems that the new growth follows the same basic path toward the surface every year.
If I collect any more I will have to take a more detailed look, than I have in the past.

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

What an amazing plant form for a viola! 
Rick, I was about to ask how one would recognize contractile roots (as compared to deeply-penetrating but "ordinary" roots).  Then I googled it and discovered that I have indeed seen them... on all the little bulbs I unearthed last summer while moving plants around.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Contractile roots are quite common with bulbous species, especially in their younger years.  They are present even on my Gladiolus atroviolaceus cormlets.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Boland
Boland's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

That is one of the most beautiful Viola I've seen!

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

Paul T
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

Wow, John.  Those leaves are just so amazing for a violet.  Thanks heaps for showing us.

Cheers.

Paul T.
Canberra, Australia.
Min winter temp -8 or -9°C. Max summer temp 40°C. Thankfully, maybe once or twice a year only.

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