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Viola philippii

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Scientific Name

Viola philippii Leybold

Synonyms

Viola microphylla, Viola philippii var. philippii

Scientific Classification

Family: Violaceae
Subfamily: Violoideae
Tribe: Violeae
Genus: Viola

Origin

Native to Chile.

Description

Viola philippii is a small perennial plant that forms rosettes of semi-succulent, beautifully textured leaves with reddish crenate margins. The rosettes grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) tall. Leaves are gray-green to purplish-brown with hairy edges. They change color to blend in with their backgrounds. Flowers are with five petals, white tinged with pink, and appear from spring to early summer.

The specific epithet "philippii" probably honors Federico Philippi (1838-1910), a zoologist and botanist active in Chile. He was the youngest son of the famed paleontologist and zoologist Rodolfo Amando Philippi.

Photo by Matt Berger

How to Grow and Care for Viola philippii

Rosulate Violas have a reputation for being difficult to keep alive. Cold conditions, soil that contains adequate amounts of nutrients, and as much light as possible, are essential.

Soil: They grow in relatively bare loose soils, which are often volcanic in origin.

Hardiness: Viola philippii can withstand temperatures as low as 0 to 50 °F (-17.8 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 7a to 11b.

Propagation: Rosulate Violas are grown only from seed and with some patience.

The main problem with these plants is etiolation, caused by a lack of light, which results in elongation of the compact rosettes. It is known that in any bunch of seedlings, some of them will quickly etiolate, while others may not. So there is some scope in selecting Rosulate Violas more likely to grow satisfactorily in cultivation.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Rosulate Violas.

Toxicity of Viola philippii

Violas are nontoxic for humans and pets. Both the flowers and leaves are edible fresh, cooked, or dried.

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