When late April brings new leaves like cut-out pink and white velvet on the oak trees, and when on the dry clay hills of the oak woods the trout lilies are out of bloom, there may come the neat plants of ovate-leaved violets with their purple flowers.
Viola fimbriatula Sm.
April - May Hilly woods.
These are compact violet plants; the common blue violet is sometimes untidy in appearance, bushy and leafy in contrast. The ovate-leaved violet's leaves are narrow, neatly scalloped, on stems which often are short enough to permit the flower stems to stand well above them. Here above the spade-shaped, dark green leaves are bright purple violets. They are broader than the common violet's flowers, usually are a brighter, clearer purple, and there is less white fur near the center of the flower than is found in many other violets in Illinois.
The ovate-leaved violet is one of those uncommon species which fre-quently is overlooked simply because to many eyes a violet, regardless of species. It happen- that in the eastern states alone there are forty-five species of violets, as listed in Gray's Manual of Botany. In the west there are many more. In each species, the flowers almost all bear the typical violet shape two petal.- above, two at the side, a trough-shaped petal at the bottom, a short. sac-like tube at the hack where the nectar lies, and a small yellow aperture in the center of the flower where insects probe for nectar. The colors of violets vary from white to yellow amd from pale lavender to deep purple.