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Viola hastata

by Barry Glick
by Barry Glick


Barry Glick has been involved in the plant world since 1954, when at the young, impressionable age of 5, he witnessed Don Herbert (Mr. Wizard on TV) put a cutting of a plant in a glass of water only to sprout roots a few shows later. Barry replicated the experiment with his one of his mother's prized Coleus plants, and as he watched the roots grow, knew that he was hooked for life.

Barry owns Sunshine Farm & Gardens in West Virginia - Zone 5

December 1, 2002

bgviolahastata-s.jpg (11855 bytes)How 'bout something to brighten up your shady garden? Even when it's not showing off it's 1" brilliant yellow blooms, Viola hastata lights up the darkness with resplendent silvery mottling on its foliage. Sort of like snowflakes, each plant is slightly different.

Very east to grow in average soil, here is a plant that doesn't require much attention. And don't worry about it taking over your garden, Viola hastata is very well behaved, unlike some of its brethren.

The specific epithet hastata refers to the sword like shape of the leaves, which taper to a point and are wider at the bottom. If you've ever wondered about the scientific names used to describe the different shapes of leaves, you'll just love the chart of leaf shapes at:

The common name, "Halberd Leaved Violet", comes from the resemblance to a "Halberd", which was a sword like weapon used ceremonially in ancient times. You can learn more at

Although I couldn't find any specific medicinal uses of Viola hastata, my friend Scott Appell has written an article that you'll find very interesting about the ethnobotanical uses of Viola by Native Americans. You can find this informative, illustrated piece at :
american violet society web site

Propagation of Viola hastata is easiest by division of the small, brittle, creeping rhizome that kind of looks like bright white grub worms.

Taxonomic Hierarchy


Plantae Plants


Tracheobionta Vascular plants


Spermatophyta Seed plants


Magnoliophyta Flowering plants


Magnoliopsida diocotyledons






Violaceae - Violets





Common name - genus


Common name - species

"Halberdleaf Yellow Violet"


none that I have found

Native range

see - plants usda

USDA Hardiness Zone

zone 5, most likely 4, maybe 3

Light preference

Full shade to dappled sunlight

Soil fertility preference


Soil moisture preference

Average to well drained

Bloom time

Mid to late spring

Bloom color

Bright Yellow


Medium green, silvery mottling patterns


4"-8" clump


4" - 8"

Landscape uses

Naturalizing in a shade or woodland garden

Medicinal uses

none that I have found

The complete set of "Glick Pick of the Week" back issues are now available on line at

© 2002 Barry Glick and Sunshine Farm & Gardens

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