USA Official State Flower Official Wisconsin State Flower


Wood Violet

(Viola papilionacea)
Adopted on June 4, 1949.

The Wood Violet, Viola papilionacea, was adopted as Wisconsin's state flower on June 4, 1949.


Wisconsin's school children were asked to vote for an official state flower in 1908, which left four finalists: arbutus, violet, white water lily and wild rose. The following year they voted again using the four finalists and the violet won. However, the violet was only named Wisconsin's unofficial state flower until 1948.

Finally, during the Centennial celebration, a youth committee was set up to officially adopt several state symbols. At this time the official flower, tree and bird were decided. On Arbor Day 1909, the final vote was taken, and the violet won. Chapter 218, Laws of 1949, which created Section 1.10 of the statutes, named the wood violet Wisconsin's official flower.


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

  • Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant. It is variable in flower color and to a lesser extent leaf shape.
    Leaves: This plant has basal leaves only. Each heart shaped leaf is bluntly toothed and born on long stem. High in vitamins A and C it used to be a very welcome raw salad or cooked green early in the spring when fresh vegetables were hard to come by. The flowers are more often used nowadays. They can be candied and also used in jellies.
  • Height: Less than 1'
  • Frequency: Many plants found in low woods. This is the violet commonly found in yards and along roadsides.
  • Flowers: April; It is one of the first plants to bloom in the low, wet woods of the preserve in early spring. The flowers are irregular in shape . They are Deep blue or violet sometimes almost white with blue markings. Blooms first appear in early spring and continue into early fall. The side petals have beards or tuffs near the center of the flower. The flower grows on its own stem. There are also special flowers that stay near the ground and do not open...but they still produce bazillions of seeds!
  • Habitat: Almost anywhere. Prefers damp locations.
  • Range: Most of eastern US except extreme north and south.
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 sororia Willd. -- common blue violet P
Viola papilionacea Pursh p.p --SYM