Viola canescens Wall., Fl. Ind., ed. 1820 2: 450-451 450 1824. (syn: Viola serpens var. canescens (Wall.) Hook.fil. & Thoms.);
Jammu & Kashmir (Poonch, Kashmir, Jammu), Pakistan (Kurram, Dir, Chitral,
Swat, Hazara, Murree, N.W.Frontier Prov., Pakistani Punjab), Nepal, India
(Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya,
Tamil Nadu), Sikkim, Bhutan,
Myanmar [Burma], ?China (?Guangxi), S-Tibet
as per Catalogue of Life
As per efi thread:
Leaves are clearly acuminate in Viola pilosa and not so in Viola canescens
There is a clear difference as to how style is visible in the live flowers in both species at Viola canescens and Viola pilosa
One more point is the nature of the lower petal being mostly acute or acuminate in Viola pilosa and obtuse in Viola canescens 
I think the above three point combined together should clinch the id in most of the cases.
As per keys in Flora of Pakistan:
13 (12) Stigma beaked. Ovary glabrous   (14)
+ Stigma club shaped. Ovary hairy   2 Viola canescens
       
14 (13) Leaves acuminate. Sepals lanceolate, acute, ciliate-dentate   3 Viola pilosa
+ Leaves obtuse. Sepals ovate, obtuse, entire   1 Viola odorata
Keys as per Flora of Mizoram in efi thread:
Leaves broadly canescent, obtuse; flower pale-violet — Viola canescens
Leaves pilose, deltoid, acuminate; flowers white to bluish — Viola pilosa
 
Himalayan White Violet; 


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Viola canescens ABMAR01/04 : 3 posts by 2 authors. 9 images.

Violas have been troubling me for more than a year now. Each time I think I have found a positive ID, I am to be proved wrong. I hope this time I am correct. I am basing my ID on the following keys;
1. V. canescens is pale lilac in colour with a stigma that is blunt at the apex.
2. The stipules are fringed.
3. Leaves and stems are densely pubescent.
I have been confusing this with V. serpens a lot and its synonym V. serpens var. canescens did not help. Also in some places both species are wrongly treated as one. I will treat the comparison between the two species in a separate email.
Viola canescensHimalayan White Violet
Above Mcleodganj, Dharamshala, HP
1800m
03 March 2016.
Pale lilac flowers with a lot of white. The lower lip with dark veins shorter and narrower than other petals;  
White tufts on the inside of petals (only the side pair?);
Fringed scales at the base of the plant;
Downy leaves;
The blunt apex of stigma is visible;
The habit and individual parts;


Thanks, …, Never seen such wonderful display & explanation in such details with photographs.
My hats off to you.


Thank you … for your generous comments. Violas are proving to be very difficult and I saw this very same flower shown as V. serpens on the Great National Himalayan Park web page this morning. I hope we soon see light at the end of this dark tunnel.
Looking forward to validation and advice.


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I found a couple of examples of V. canescens growing on stone walls where the runners were clearly visible. I am sharing these here for the record.

Attachments (4)

Viola canescens 

Viola indica

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 Viola canescens (left) with Viola indica (right)

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Viola confusa?/ABMAR21 : 9 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (10)

Violas are leaving me perplexed. After communicating with … last night, I decided to bring the different flowers home and study them together. The only new key I have found is that the lighter (whiter) violas have leaves that are blunt at the apex, have the lower petal with dark veins the smallest, and the stalk and centre of the flower are hairy. Now, another darker flower of a similar size matches these keys too making me suspect it could be a variant of the same species but there are several of these on the slopes. The third in our sample is the largest in size, has a large lower petal, is darker violet, has virtually no hair, and has pointed leaves. 
My guess is the following;
The whiter flower with blunt leaves is Viola canescens.
The darker flower with similar characteristics is either the same or V. pilosa or a hybrid.
The largest flower with a large lower petal could again be V. indica (but has no sweet smell)V. pilosa or V. odorata (but odorata has blunt leaves)
Of course these can be completely different from my assumptions too. My main reference is Flowers of the Himalaya by O. Polunin and A. Stainton. I also looked up flowersofindia.net (which is now down as reported by Ushadi) and searched for Viola species on the internet.
I leave you with the following images for your expert counsel.
Mcleodganj, Dharamshala, HP
1750m
20 March 2015
Please note the leaf shapes and the lower petals in the first two pictures.
This is the same flower as in the second picture.
Similar flowers of different shades;
The flower from the first photo;
All together. The one on the right is the largest in size but doesn’t appear so because of withering slightly. While the left tow have their lower lip pointing up, this one has its lip which is clearly larger than the other two pointing left.
The two similar ones with different shade;

Viola species in eFloraofindia (with details/ keys from published papers/ regional floras/ FRLHT/ FOI/ Biotik/ efloras/ books etc., where ever available)     
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Attaching a plate provided by … Attachments (11)


Thank you … I will collect some specimens soon and see if I can magnify them sufficiently.


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Here it is finally the flower I thought to be V. canescens. Based on the illustration from …, it looks to be V. indica. Please correct me if I am wrong. I must add here that the flower has no discernible sweet aroma (V. indica is supposed to have a sweet smell). I will get the other darker flower with larger lower lip tomorrow and report. Attachments (5)


Now for the other one with the large lower lip (petal). It was hard to find a sample today as there are less of these than the other ones. There was a mild fragrance to the flower when freshly plucked. To my untrained eyes, the style looks again like that of a V. indica. Does V. odorata have a smell too? It’s not on the drawing and I am wondering if we are looking at odorata. Attachments (3)


Viola canescens


Thank you … Are all of these the same species?


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Viola pilosa or Viola canescens ABApril_2020/01 : 16 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (12)

This is the second species from Dharamshala which is still confusing. The flowers can be from pure white to deep mauve and vary in size from 1.5 to 2.2cm. Most are wider than long. 
The petals are of different shapes and sizes. The two uppermost are the broadest at ca. 7mm, the laterals are roughly 5mm wide (both about 13mm long). The lowest petal (or the uppermost if you consider resupination, but for clarity I am using the lowest) is the narrowest at 4mm and excluding the spur about 10mm long. The spur is cylindrical, white, and can be hooked or not and is 3mm long. 

The leaves are slightly paler underneath, hairy on both surfaces with scattered white hairs. The petiole is hairy and the stipules are laciniate (with long hair-like projections on both long edges). 
The pedicel projects beyond the leaves mostly and is covered on white hairs too. Sepals are lanceolate, equal and have hairy margins. 
The anthers are pale yellow, two with nectaries projecting into the spur. The nectaries are yellow-green, hairy and about 2mm long. 
The ovary is hairy at the top. The stigma appears truncated at lower magnification but up-close reveals a crater like perforation at the top of the club-shaped style. 
The seeds are yellow with dark purple warts on their surface. Elaiosomes are prominent.
Depending on how we interpret this data, we could either believe this to be Viola pilosa or Viola canescens. All comments are welcome.
All photos taken between 1750 and 2200m in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. the flowering season is usually late February to June. A few plants can be found well into autumn too.


I will go with Viola pilosa.


Sorry, I wanted to say Viola canescens


This type of Viola, with all sepals equal and with ciliate margins, I would think it is Viola pilosa.

Pl. see Viola canescens. I think style is the best clue. Here style is club shaped. Leaves are also not acuminate.
As per keys in Flora of Pakistan:
13 (12) Stigma beaked. Ovary glabrous   (14)
+ Stigma club shaped. Ovary hairy   2 Viola canescens
       
14 (13) Leaves acuminate. Sepals lanceolate, acute, ciliate-dentate   3 Viola pilosa
+ Leaves obtuse. Sepals ovate, obtuse, entire

As both species are quite confusing, these key features are not visible in images of Viola canescens at FOI.
I have doubts about correctness of these images in FOI.


This is from FOC description of Viola pilosa:

styles clavate, base slightly geniculate, gradually thickened upward; stigmas ± flat, not margined, very inconspicuously short beaked in front, with smaller stigma hole at tip of beak.”

Thank you … for your comments. We can all appreciate the difficulties involved. 
The issue boils down to which source(s) we trust the most in our identifications. Especially when the sources we usually refer to do not agree with each other.
When I began looking at the two viola species in Dharamshala in 2015, the first characteristic I looked at was the stipules. I was told that the fringed ones meant canescens and toothed ones pilosa. Now I have learnt that these can be variable. FOC describes them for V. Pilosa as “stipules mostly free, brown or green, lanceolate, margin long or shortly fimbriate-dentate, apex long acuminate”
Flora of China does not include V. canescens in its list of viola species in China but makes a brief comment under V. pilosa description “In FRPS (51: 90. 1991), the name Viola canescens Wallich was misapplied to this species.” FRPS is Latin for Flora of China. This is not elaborated further so we will not know if the author(s) does not approve of V. canescens as a valid species or is merely suggesting that these features were earlier confused with V. canescens
Next, I learnt that to know violas, one has to look at the style/stigma. So I did my best to look at the style closely. I found out that the style is club-shaped, gradually thickening upwards culminating in a perforated stigma placed on the side. 
This matches the description given by FOC for V. pilosa. But Flora of Pakistan gives the stigma for V. canescens as club-shaped but does not elaborate more. 
FOP does not give the shape of the stigma for V. pilosa but tells us that it is beaked. The perforation-like stigma, can be seen like a beak from an angle but I am not sure if I want to base my identification on a feature that is open to interpretation. 
Flora Simlensis says that V. canescens has a truncated stigma and not beaked, and describes stigma for V. serpens (synonym of V. pilosa) as being three-lobed and beaked. The stigma on our plant may look truncated to the naked eye but under a modest magnification, the shape becomes obvious.
Flowers of the Himalaya lists V. pilosa as having a 3-lobed stigma with a beak too but does not comment on the stigma of V. canescens.
So neither the stipules nor the style/stigma shapes are agreed upon in the literature. FOC pdf was compiled in 2007 and could be the most recent study we have on the genus in China/Asia. I am not sure how often the Flora of Pakistan is updated but the books I have consulted are all much older than 2007. But since the study does not include V. canescens at all, we are still left wondering.
Our species matches the descriptions broadly for V. pilosa in FOC and V. canescens in FOP. How do we move forward?


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Attaching a plate provided by Santosh Agarwal ji in Viola confusa?/ABMAR21

Style is more closer to  Viola canescens rather than Viola pilosa
I feel we have to rely more on  Flora of Pakistan as both the species are listed here (and found in the area) and this issue must have been deliberated for long times and keys framed accordingly due to confusing nature between the two.
Leaves are clearly acuminate in Viola pilosa and not so in Viola canescens
There is a clear difference as to how style is visible in the live flowers in both species at Viola canescens and Viola pilosa
One more point is the nature of the lower petal being mostly acute or acuminate in Viola pilosa and obtuse in Viola canescens 
I think the above three point combined together should clinch the id in most of the cases.
Attachments (1)


I agree with you that if we are certain about the flowers on our website here being Viola pilosa, then as certainly the flowers from Dharamshala are not V. pilosa. As the images below show, they have a three-lobed stigma and the pointed lip.
These should be the defining characters then. But that will also prove that the illustration provided by Santosh Agarwal ji is not reliable and neither is the description in FOP or FOC for that matter. The older literature such as Flora Simlensis and Flowers of the Himalaya both win here.
Tabish ji has already included a 3-lobed stigma in his description on FOI, which stand correct.
So if FOC, FOP and the illustration of styles cannot be relied upon, how will we file flowers from Dharamshala under V. canescens?


Sending here a combined image for reference and comparison.

Attachments (1)

I think style matches with the illustration. Ovary is also hairy.
If we may examine hundreds of specimens, we may find little variation here and there in most of the characters.
All hundreds of specimens can not be put in an image, only a representative images can be made. Same is for the description.
As far as style of Viola pilosa is concerned, we have not seen the close up as you have shown for the other species.


Thank you Mr. Garg. We can conclude for the time being that the flowers here are V. canescens.


Thanks a lot, … We are always open and change our ids and pages when we ourselves find new evidence.


In fact all this new learning has been because of your persistence and super follow up presentations.


 

 

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Viola canescens/ABMAR12 : 1 post by 1 author. 3 images.
Growing next to the other Viola was this whiter slightly smaller flower. My guess would be Viola canescens and not V. pilosa as the leaves are not narrow. Please advise.
Himalayan White Violet (Viola canescens)
McLeodganj, Dharamshala, HP
6 March 2015

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SK1029 19 MAR-2018 : 5 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (7)
Location: Mudkhu, Kathmandu, Nepal 
Altitude: 5000 ft.
Date: 16 March 2018
Habit : Wild
Viola canescens Wall.  ??

Yes, appears close to images at Viola canescens 


 

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SK1682 30 Dec 2018 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (3) 
Location: Namobuddha, Kabhrepalanchowk, Nepal 
Date: 1 March 2013
Altitude: 1750 m.
Habit : Wild
Viola canescens Wall.
Viola canescens Wall. ??? : 6 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (8)

Location: Raniban, Balaju, Nepal
Altitude:  4900 ft.
Date: 20 January 2017


Why not Viola pilosa Blume ? 


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I will like to agree with … as the some characteristics such as blunt leaves, hairy petiole and truncated stigma point to V. canescens. But this is a very confusing species and I am still struggling to establish the two species found in Dharamshala. If we follow FOC, this could very well be the V. pilosa (FOC doesn’t describe V. canescens):

18. Viola pilosa Blume, Catalogus. 57. 1823. 

匍匐堇菜 pu fu jin cai 

Viola pogonantha W. W. Smith; V. serpens Wallich ex Gingins; V. serpens subsp. gurhwalensis W. Becker; V. serpens var. pseudoscotophylla H. Boissieu.

Herbs perennial, acaulescent or with very short stem. Rhizome erect or obliquely ascending, 3-5 cm × 1.5-4 mm; internodes conspicuous. Stolon elongated, slender, glabrous, with evenly scattered leaves. Leaves nearly basal; stipules mostly free, brown or green, lanceolate, margin long or shortly fimbriate-dentate, apex long acuminate; petioles nearly as long as blades or lower ones much longer than blades, densely appressed hirsute, more densely hairy in upper part; leaf blade greenish on both surfaces, ovate or narrowly ovate, 2-6 × 1-3 cm, sparsely white stiffly hairy, more densely so along veins abaxially, base narrowly and deeply sinuate, lateral auricles conspicuous, margin densely and shallowly obtusely dentate, apex caudate-acuminate or acute. Flowers purplish or white, medium-sized; pedicels usually exceeding leaves, sparsely puberulous or subglabrous, 2-bracteolate above middle; bracteoles linear. Sepals lanceolate, 6-7.5 × ca. 2.5 mm, apex acute, basal auricles 2-2.5 mm, outside usually sparsely white puberulous, margin ciliate, apex remotely and shallowly dentate. Petals oblong-obovate, base narrower, lateral ones bearded, anterior one shorter, inside deep-colored veined; spur saccate, 2-2.5 mm, usually sparsely puberulous; spur of 2 anterior stamens ca. 1.5 mm, angular. Ovary usually puberulous; styles clavate, base slightly geniculate, gradually thickened upward; stigmas ± flat, not margined, very inconspicuously short beaked in front, with smaller stigma hole at tip of beak. Capsule subglobose, 5-10 mm, puberulous or glabrous. Seeds with dotted protuberances on surface, conspicuously appendaged on lower lateral side. Fl. Feb-Apr, fr. May-Sep. 2n = 20.

Mountain forests, grasslands, roadsides; 800-3000 m. W Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan, SE Xizang, Yunnan [Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Kashmir, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand].

In FRPS (51: 90. 1991), the name Viola canescens Wallich was misapplied to this species.

The question of stigma shapes and stipules doesn’t take us far also. The truncated stigma in the flower above is inconspicuously short beaked as mentioned in FOC. I am attaching old photos to support this. The stipules are fimbriate, attaching another photo. Flowers purplish to white is true, attaching photos. Anterior petal is shorter, see photo. That leaves us with the question that if this is V. pilosa then what distinguishes it from V. canescens

According to Polunin and Stainton, Viola canescens is:

Distinguished by its minutely and densely grey-haired leaves (hence canescens; Latin for white or hoary) and leaf-stalks. Flowers pale violet and often paler at centre, c. 1cm across, with a short blunt spur; sepals hairy. Leaves ovate-heart-shaped to kidney-shaped with a blunt apex; blade rather thick, and covered with grey hairs; leaf-stalks with dense down-curved hairs; stipules lanceolate, fringed, often brown. Runners usually present. Capsules hairy.

And Viola pilosa is:

Similar to V. canscens but with lilac flowers, leaf-blades narrower and longer, ovate-lanceolate, acute to long-pointed, with thin white hairs, or almost hairless above. Flowers 1-1.5cm; upper petals normally with hairs at the base; stigma 3-lobed, beaked. Stipules entire or toothed, not fringed. Capsules hairy or hairless.

Following them, the sample in question is V. canescens. Referring to other material such as BSI or stigma shapes, we will have more confusion.

In such cases, which is the authority to follow? Who has the final say? If the genus has been revised, where can we see the published results?

Please advise.

Attachments (8)


Thanks, …  I know no one knows about this plant better than you with in depth analysis.


 

 

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Viola pilosa : Attachments (1).  1 post by 1 author.
Viola pilosaPelling, Sikkim
May 2013


I think more closer to Viola canescens Wall. rather than Viola pilosa Blume

 

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Viola Pilosa :  1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1).  I took this even tinier Smooth-leaf White Violet (Viola pilosa) a few days ago on 23 August again on my phone.


I think more closer to Viola canescens Wall. rather than Viola pilosa Blume

 

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Viola sp for ID ?? – at Shakati – GHNP103 – Nov- PKA10 : 5 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (4)

Seen this small herb at Shakati at GHNP.
Looks like some Viola sp. (Family: Violaceae)
Date/Time: 01-10-2014 / 02:15PM
I could spot only one flower, may be end of flowering season..

yes

the flower and the heart shaped leaves on a runner (I think) are the give away

end of the season would also mean tiny green seed pods that often burst opne as you touch them, even delicately…

beyond that I can not classify this viola, may be … can


Viola species in eFloraofindia (with details/ keys from published papers/ regional floras/ FRLHT/ FOI/ Biotik/ efloras/ books etc., where ever available)


Viola pilosa Syn: Viola serpens – Banaksha, a highly demanded drug for cough, cold, throat relaxation and even for curing throat cancer.


I think more closer to Viola canescens Wall. rather than Viola pilosa Blume as per keys and details herein.

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Viola bulbosa Maxim. (accepted name) ??? : 6 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (4)

Location: Thulo Phedi, Pathibhara, Taplejung, Nepal
Date: 19 April 2017
Altitude: 10500 ft.


Violas are very very difficult. 


Indeed. May be its habitat altitude would help !

Please check Viola pilosa

http://www.valleyofflowers.info/flowers-found-in-valley-of-flowers/viola-pilosa/


Thank you all. Viola pilosa Bl. (accepted name)


I think more closer to Viola canescens Wall. rather than Viola pilosa Blume as per keys and details herein.


eflora Nepal says elevation 150-2400 m.

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SK1211 17 JUNE 2018 : 6 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (5) – around 600 kb each.

Location: Sandakphu, India
Date: 14 May 2018
Altitude: 11000 ft.
Habit : Wild  g
Viola canescens Wall. ??  But elevation is not matching.

I think more closer to images at Viola pilosa 


I think more closer to Viola canescens Wall. rather than Viola pilosa Blume as per keys and details herein.

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Viola pilosa Bl. (accepted name) ?? : 8 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (11)

Location: Godawari, Nepal
Altitude: 5000 ft.

Date: 10 January 2017


Difficult genus.
Does not seem to match with images at Viola pilosa


Any suggestion ?


This looks like Viola pilosa if it is from Godavari.


Thank you for validation!

Nepali Name : धट्टे घाँस Ghatte Ghans


 

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viola for id mm1 24062012: viola canescens maybe

near garibans in singalila national park
second week of april
would very much appreciate an id


I was trying to learn another new kind of flowers to me.
As per description available at Pakistan flora (http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=200014339) everything seems to be ok, except the lower most petal, it is not the shortest in all your attached pics, as can be seen in FoI – http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Himalayan%20White%20Violet.html.
Darjeeling part of the Eastern Himalaya is extremely rich in Violaceae, mainly the genus Viola. For most of the species of the said region it is difficult to recognize upto the species level from this type of photograph. Even the nature of stigmatic lobes were considered as an important character in recognizing some species of Viola. It better to avoid guessing the species.


I think close to Viola canescens Wall. as per comparative images at Viola


Viola canescens in FOI : 4 posts by 2 authors.
I have doubts about images of Viola canescens in FOI being correct.
Pl. see details at  Viola canescens Wall.

Leaves look more like Viola hamiltoniana as per GBIF.


Thanks for a critical look on this species. The lowest petal in Viola canescens is pointed, whereas in Viola hamiltoniana, it is sort of notched. Also the spur is shorter and more rounded in Viola hamiltoniana. Some images of Viola canescens at GBIF do show this kind of leaves.


Thanks, … Pl. also see POWO
You may be right. I am not sure.
But I think better images to be added, to avoid any confusion. 


 

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Pls id this Viola sp shot from Theog area (2100 mts)


I think it is Viola odorata.


I think this may be Viola canescens as per images and details herein. 

One distinction between the two confusing species is that the sepals of Viola pilosa are equal whereas those of Viola canescens are unequal.


References:

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