Stems, leaves or both with some degree of hairiness. Violet flowers have 5 petals, with the lower 3 usually larger: The lowest petal forms a spur containing nectar, and the 2 side petals have a tuft of hairs on the inner side. The color of this species is variable: Some forms have violet flowers; some have all-white flowers with purple veins on the lower petal. A third form, sometimes called the "Confederate violet," has grayish-white petals with violet or blue veins and more solid patches of these colors on the inner portion of the petals, forming a broad, U-shaped eyespot. Blooms March–June, and sporadically into early fall. Leaves are heart-shaped or rounded, scalloped, usually lower than the flowers.
Similar species: In Missouri, there are nearly 20 species in the genus Viola. Leaf shape and hairiness, habitat, and other details are necessary clues to determining exact species.