USA Official State Flower Official Rhode Island State Flower


???? Violet

(Viola sororia)
Adopted in 1968; July 13, 2001


The Violet, Viola sororia, was adopted as Rhode Island's state flower in 1968.


The distinctive feature of this violet is its leaves , some of them are cut or divided into lobes. The prototypical early blue violet has lobed leaves, usually with five to eleven lobes.



Others have mixture of lobed leaves and unlobed, heart-shaped leaves. This marks it as Viola palmata var. triloba, which was once considered a separate species (Viola triloba). Birdfoot violet and coast violet look somewhat similar, but their leaves are cut into much narrower lobes.


The violet is also the state flower for Illinois, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.

  • Stems - A thick underground caudex.
  • Height: 4-6 inches
  • Leaves - All arising from base of plant. Petioles to +15cm long, hirsute, with single longitudinal groove. Blades of lower leaves rounded at apex, reniform, or ovate, crenate to serrate, pubescent. Upper leaf blades cordate at base, gradually tapering to an acute or blunt apex, serrate, densely pubescent(hirsute), to +5cm broad, +5cm long.
  • Flowers - Corolla violet, 3/4 inch broad and long. Petals 5, fading to pale yellow at base, with dark venation near base. Lateral petals bearded. Lower petal spurred. Stamens 5, connate around ovary. Bottom two stamens with flattened curved nectaries to +3mm long. Ovary conic, -3mm long. Style to -2mm long, truncate and triangular at apex. Sepals 5, to 9mm long, 3mm broad, mostly glabrous or very sparsely pubescent, topmost one recurved. Auricles 1mm long, rounded at base.
  • Flowering - March - June.
  • Flower color: purple
  • Habitat - Slopes, open and low woods, thickets, streambanks, and limy areas

2001-S 859
Enacted 07/13/2001



Introduced By: Senators Sosnowski, Bates and Irons
Date Introduced: March 13, 2001

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 42-4-9 of the General Laws in Chapter 42-4 entitled "State Emblems" is hereby amended to read as follows:

42-4-9. State flower. -- The flower commonly known as the "violet" (viola palmata) (viola sororia) is hereby designated as the state flower.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida -- Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae ?
Order Violales
Family Violaceae -- Violet family
Genus Viola L
Species Viola palmata L. ? early blue violet