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Kevin Doyle

Green Violet (Hybanthus concolor)

Life history

Species overview

Green Violet (Hybanthus concolor), a State Special Concern plant, is found in mesic hardwood forests. Blooming occurs early May through early June; fruiting occurs early June through early October. The optimal identification period for this species is early June through early October.

Synonyms: Viola concolor, Cubelium concolor


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Flowers greenish-white, tiny (4 to 5 mm), solitary to several on recurved peduncles in leaf axils; leaves broadly elliptic, abruptly acuminate at the tip and tapering to slender petioles at the base.
  • Flower characteristics: Flowers greenish-white, 4 to 5 mm, solitary or several in the axils on strongly recurved peduncles jointed beyond the middle; sepals linear, nearly as long as the petals.
  • Fruit characteristics: Fruit oblong-ellipsoid, 1.5 to 2 cm; seeds 5 mm.
  • Leaf characteristics: Alternate, broadly elliptic to ovate-oblong, 7 to 16 cm long, margins entire, abruptly tapering to a sharp point at the tip, and tapering to slender petioles (1 to 2 cm long) at the base.


  • Blooming phenology: early May through early June
  • Fruiting phenology: early June through early October
  • Optimum time to identify: early June through early October


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Acer saccharum, Quercus rubra, Ribes sp., Berberis thunbergii, Rubus sp., Xanthoxylum americanum.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Green Violet (Hybanthus concolor). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Hybanthus concolor in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of March 2012.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankSH
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in mesic hardwood forests.
  • Soils: Rich soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Green Violet. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Southern Mesic Forest 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Green Violet. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Green Violet (Hybanthus concolor) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or NHI Botanist for specific recommendations for your site.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid locating landings, staging areas, or access routes on or near known populations.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Maintain high forest canopy cover; this species requires shaded habitat conditions.


Green Violet  [Photo #1323]

The last observation of green violet in Wisconsin was from a rich hardwood forest in Grant County, within the Southwest Savanna. Recent searches have relocated historical populations or turned up any new ones. This species is now presumed extirpated from

Photo © Kitty Kohout.

Green Violet  [Photo #12490]

Photo © John Kohout.

Green Violet  [Photo #12314]

Photo © Robert H. Read.

Green Violet  [Photo #12315]

Photo © John Kohout.

Green Violet  [Photo #1324]

Photo © John Kohout.

Green Violet  [Photo #22554]

Photo by Ryan O'Connor, WDNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition