April 16, 2021
It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
Let's close out the week with one more find from a recent museum trip to the Patrick County home of a good friend of VMNH: Viola hastata, the halberd-leaved yellow violet!
This plant is native to the eastern U.S. and blooms from March through May. The flowers look quite similar to the common blue violet or wood violet (Viola sororia), only yellow instead of blue. The halberd-leaved violet seems to prefer higher elevations, however, and it can often be found in open woods and ravines with humus-rich acidic soils and partial shade.
This violet gets its name from the halberd, which was a Renaissance-era two-handed pole weapon with an axe blade and spike mounted at the end of a long shaft. The leaves supposedly resemble the axe blade portion of a halberd!
The genus Viola contains almost 600 species, and you might have the most famous member of the family growing in your garden right now: the pansy, which is a hybrid of several plants in the genus Viola, particularly the European wild pansy Viola tricolor!
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com)
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!