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Dog violet & Orange Fritillary

May 17, 2022

Leaves

Dog violet (Viola labradorica) is a low-growing perennial that blooms with vibrant purple flowers in the spring.

If it weren’t for these showy flowers, many would likely walk right by this plant, as it grows across the shady forest floors.

Adult Orange Fritillary butterflies prefer plants in the violet family to support their survival and the survival of their offspring. Adults lay thousands of eggs in the shady understory, often on any plant they can find. The eggs laid on plants in the violet family will be eggs to survive. Most eggs hatch in the fall and overwinter nearby violet plants as little caterpillars. Come spring, they awake and immediately start feeding on the plants fresh spring foliage. Without violets, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the fritillary butterfly.

Where else can you see this plant growing at the Arboretum?

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