FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Viola palustris, alpine marsh violet

Viola palustris; The Alpine Marsh Violet is a common purple flowering violet. The species is very similar to the Northern Marsh Violet (Viola epipsila). The fundamental difference is that Alpine marsh violet has a bract on the flower stem about half-way along the stalk. In the Northern marsh violet this bract is found in the top part of the flower stem. There is also a slight difference in leaf-shapes. They are more round shaped in the Alpine marsh violet and more spade-shaped in the Northern marsh violet. V. palusris is common all over Iceland (but for the most rugged highland regons) while V. epipsila is restricted to the northern and north-western regions of Iceland. Other more or less common violets on Iceland are:

* Viola canina - Heath Dog-violet. It has narrower leaves.
* Viola tricolor - Wild Pansy. It has large stipules (bracts at the side of the leaf stems) which resemble leaves themselves and the yellowish heart of the flower makes it very recognizable. It is the wild species from which many garden violet varieties have been bred.

They are all member of the violet family (Violaceae). The Icelandic name of thAlpine Marsh Violet is mýrfjóla.

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise

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