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Violaceae are a family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 of flowering plant
Flowering plant
The flowering plants , also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies...

s consisting of about 800 species in 21 genera. It takes its name from the genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

Violet (plant)
Viola is a genus of flowering plants in the violet family Violaceae, with around 400–500 species distributed around the world. Most species are found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere; however, viola species are also found in widely divergent areas such as Hawaii, Australasia, and the Andes in...

, the violets and pansies
The Pansy is a large group of hybrid plants cultivated as garden flowers. Pansies are derived from Viola species Viola tricolor hybridized with other viola species, these hybrids are referred to as Viola × wittrockiana or less commonly Viola tricolor hortensis...


Older classifications such as the Cronquist system
Cronquist system
The Cronquist system is a taxonomic classification system of flowering plants. It was developed by Arthur Cronquist in his texts An Integrated System of Classification of Flowering Plants and The Evolution and Classification of Flowering Plants .Cronquist's system places flowering plants into two...

 placed Violaceae in an order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 named after it, the Violales
Violales is a botanical name of an order of flowering plants and takes its name from the included family Violaceae. The name has been used in several systems, although some systems used the name Parietales for similar groupings...

. However, newer classifications such as that of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group
The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, or APG, refers to an informal international group of systematic botanists who came together to try to establish a consensus on the taxonomy of flowering plants that would reflect new knowledge about plant relationships discovered through phylogenetic studies., three...

 locate it in the Malpighiales
Malpighiales is one of the largest orders of flowering plants, containing about 16000 species, approximately 7.8% of the eudicots. The order is very diverse and hard to recognize except with molecular phylogenetic evidence. It is not part of any of the classification systems that are based only on...



Though the best-known genus, Viola, is herbaceous, most species are shrubs or small trees. The simple leaves are alternate or opposite, often with leafy stipules or the stipules are reduced in size. Some species have palmate shaped leaves or deeply dissected leaves. Many species are acaulescent. Inflorescence with solitary flowers or paniculate like, some species have cleistogamous flowers produced after or before the production of typically petaled flowers. Flowers are bisexual or unisexual (e.g. Melicytus), typically zygomorphic or actinomorphic with a calyx of five sepals that are persistent after flowering. Corolla with 5 mostly unequal petals, the anterior petal larger and often spurred. Plants with five stamens with the abaxial stamen often spurred at the base. The gynoecium is a compound pistil of three united carpels with one locule. Styles simple, ovary superior, ovules many. The fruits are capsules splitting by way of three seams. Seeds with endosperm.


four subfamilies are recognized: Violoideae, Leonioideae and Fusispermoideae.

Subfamily Leonioideae

  • Leonia
    Leonia (plant)
    Leonia is a genus of tropical small trees or shrubs. It was named by Hipólito Ruiz López in 1794....

    Hipólito Ruiz López
    Hipólito Ruiz López , or Hipólito Ruiz, was a Spanish botanist known for researching the floras of Peru and Chile during an expedition under Carlos III from 1777 to 1788...

     & Pav.

Subtribe Hymenantherinae
  • Hymenanthera R.Br.
    Robert Brown (botanist)
    Robert Brown was a Scottish botanist and palaeobotanist who made important contributions to botany largely through his pioneering use of the microscope...

  • Melicytus
    Melicytus is a genus of plant in family Violaceae.Species include:* Melicytus crassifolius – Thick-leaved Mahoe* Melicytus dentatus – Tree Violet* Melicytus drucei* Melicytus flexuosus B.P.J.Molloy & A.P.Druce...

    Johann Reinhold Forster
    Johann Reinhold Forster was a German Lutheran pastor and naturalist of partial Scottish descent who made contributions to the early ornithology of Europe and North America...

     & G.Forst.
    Georg Forster
    Johann Georg Adam Forster was a German naturalist, ethnologist, travel writer, journalist, and revolutionary. At an early age, he accompanied his father on several scientific expeditions, including James Cook's second voyage to the Pacific...

Subtribe Paypayrolinae
  • Amphirrhox Spreng.
  • Hekkingia Munzinger
    Munzinger may refer to:* Josef Munzinger , Member of the Swiss Federal Council* Werner Munzinger , Swiss adventurer...

     & H.E.Ballard
  • Paypayrola Aubl.
    Jean Baptiste Christophore Fusée Aublet
    Jean Baptiste Christophore Fusée Aublet was a French pharmacist, botanist and explorer.Born in Salon-de-Provence, he joined the French East India Company and in 1752 was sent to Mauritius to establish a pharmacy and a botanical garden. He worked there for nine years...

Subtribe Rinoreinae
  • Allexis
    Allexis is a genus of plant in family Violaceae.Species include:* Allexis cauliflora, Pierre* Allexis obanensis, Melch....

    Jean Baptiste Louis Pierre
    Jean Baptiste Louis Pierre , also known as J. B. Louis Pierre, was a French botanist known for his Asian studies....

  • Decorsella A.Chev. (including Gymnorinorea Keay)
  • Gloeospermum
    Gloeospermum is a genus of plant in family Violaceae.Species include:* Gloeospermum boreale, C.V.Morton...

    José Jéronimo Triana
    José Jerónimo Triana Silva was a Colombian botanist who catalogued 60,000 specimens representing 8,000 species.For example:* Acisanthera alsinaefolia Triana* Miconia albicans Triana...

     & Planch.
  • Rinorea
    Rinorea is a genus of plant in family Violaceae.Species include:* Rinorea antioquiensis, Smith & Fernández* Rinorea bicornuta, Hekking* Rinorea brachythrix, Blake* Rinorea cordata, Smith & Fernández* Rinorea crenata, Blake...

    Jean Baptiste Christophore Fusée Aublet
    Jean Baptiste Christophore Fusée Aublet was a French pharmacist, botanist and explorer.Born in Salon-de-Provence, he joined the French East India Company and in 1752 was sent to Mauritius to establish a pharmacy and a botanical garden. He worked there for nine years...

    (including Alsodeia Thouars
    Louis-Marie Aubert du Petit-Thouars
    Louis-Marie Aubert du Petit-Thouars was an eminent French botanist.-Introduction:He was from an aristocrat family of the region of Anjou, where he grew up in the castle of Boumois, near Saumur...

    , Phyllanoa Croizat, Scyphellandra Thwaites
    George Henry Kendrick Thwaites
    George Henry Kendrick Thwaites was an English botanist and entomologist.Thwaites was initially an accountant and studied botany during his spare time. He was interested particularly in the lower plants such as the algae and the cryptogams...

  • Rinoreocarpus Ducke
    Adolpho Ducke
    Adolpho Ducke , also referred to as Adolfo Ducke and occasionally mis-spelled "Duque", was a notable entomologist, botanist and ethnographer of Amazonia....

Tribe Violeae

  • Agatea A.Gray
    Asa Gray
    -References:*Asa Gray. Dictionary of American Biography. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928–1936.*Asa Gray. Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.*Asa Gray. Plant Sciences. 4 vols. Macmillan Reference USA, 2001....

    (included Agation Brongn.)
  • Anchietea A.St.-Hil.
  • Corynostylis Mart.
    Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius
    Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius was a German botanist and explorer.Martius was born at Erlangen, where he graduated M.D. in 1814, publishing as his thesis a critical catalogue of plants in the botanic garden of the university...

  • Hybanthopsis Paula-Souza
  • Hybanthus
    Hybanthus is a genus of the family Violaceae. This genus name is Greek for "humpback flower", referring to the drooping pedicels of plants that are part of this genus. The genus is grossly polyphyletic and may contain up to seven different genera, of which Pombalia Vand., Cubelium Raf. and Pigea DC...

    Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin
    Nikolaus Joseph Freiherr von Jacquin or Baron Nikolaus von Jacquin. was a scientist who studied medicine, chemistry and botany....

    (included Acentra Phil.
    Rodolfo Amando Philippi
    Rodolfo Amando Philippi was a German-Chilean paleontologist and zoologist....

    , Clelandia J.M.Black, Cubelium Raf.
    Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz
    Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz, as he is known in Europe, was a nineteenth-century polymath who made notable contributions to botany, zoology, the study of prehistoric earthworks in North America and Mesoamerican ancient linguistics.Rafinesque was eccentric, and is often portrayed as an...

     ex Britton
    Nathaniel Lord Britton
    Nathaniel Lord Britton was an American botanist and taxonomist who founded the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, New York. Britton was born in New Dorp in Staten Island, New York...

     & A.Br.
    , Ionidium Vent., Pigea DC.
    A. P. de Candolle
    Augustin Pyramus de Candolle also spelled Augustin Pyrame de Candolle was a Swiss botanist. René Louiche Desfontaines launched Candolle's botanical career by recommending him at an herbarium...

  • Mayanaea Lundell
  • Noisettia Kunth
    Carl Sigismund Kunth
    Carl Sigismund Kunth , also Karl Sigismund Kunth or anglicized as Charles Sigismund Kunth, was a German botanist...

  • Orthion Standl. & Steyerm.
  • Schweiggeria Spreng.
  • Viola L.
    Carolus Linnaeus
    Carl Linnaeus , also known after his ennoblement as , was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology...

    (including Erpetion Sweet
    Robert Sweet (botanist)
    Robert Sweet was an English botanist, horticulturist and ornithologist.Born at Cockington near Torquay, Devonshire, England in 1783, Sweet worked as a gardener from the age of sixteen, and became foreman or partner in a series of nurseries. He was associated with nurseries at Stockwell, Fulham...

    , Mnemion Spach
    Édouard Spach
    Édouard Spach was a French botanist.The son of a merchant in Strasbourg, he went to Paris in 1824 where he studied botany with René Desfontaines and Antoine Laurent de Jussieu . He became the secretary of Charles-François Brisseau de Mirbel...

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