Viola speciosa

Viola speciosa Pantoc.

Violaceae – Violet family

Conservation status. Critically Endangered [CR B2ab(iii)]. IUCN(R), BDA. Balkan endemic.

Morphology and biology. Caulescent, perennial herb. Stems 15–25 cm, branched from the base, shortly hairy, rarely glabrous. Leaves obtusely crenate. Stipules with short setae, deeply pinnatifid or palmatifid. Peduncles glabrous. Flowers odourless, solitary, located in the leaf-axils of middle and upper leaves, obovate to orbicular. Petals violet, orange at base; upper ones directed upwards; lateral ones patent and bent towards the upper ones, slightly overlapping with them; lower one flabelliform, rotundate or truncate, rarely weakly incised, with darker veins. Fruit a capsule. Fl. VI–VIII, fr. VII–IX. Reproduction by seeds, rarely vegetatively (by tuft fragmentation). Good seed germination capacity.

Habitats and populations. In moderately wet grassy places, in meadows, pastures or with  shrubs and Juniperus spp. Occurs individually or in some places in groups with relatively good abundance.

Distribution in Bulgaria. Belasitsa Mt; above the timberline (1500–1900 m alt.).

General distribution. Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro.

Threats. Mainly natural threats: limited area of distribution, natural disasters. Extirpation and collecting for ornamental purposes; fires can be a danger.

Conservation measures taken. Protected species according to the national Biodiversity Act. Species localities are within the borders of Belasitsa Nature Park as well as in a site of the European ecological network Natura 2000 in Bulgaria.

Conservation measures needed. Research on population size and distribution range, species biology and ecology, threats. Population monitoring. Preserving of seed material in the National Seed Genebank of Bulgaria.

References. Delipavlov 1979, 1980, 1984.

Author: Daniella Ivanova

Viola speciosa (distribution map)

Viola speciosa (drawing)