Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Plants Resource Page

Plant of the Month - Johnny-jump-up

Image Gallery - Click to enlarge

Plant Description

Common Name(s):Johnny-jump-up
Scientific Name:Viola pedunculata
Plant Type:Perennial
Size:up to 15 inches
Habitat:open grassy areas in woodlands, chaparral, sage scrub
Blooms:January to May

Johnny-jump-ups offer a bright splash of yellow at your feet in winter and early spring. You will encounter this plant scattered throughout several different plant communities.

The solitary sunny yellow flowers appear on top of long, slender stems. They are marked with dark brown centers and are about an inch to inch and a half in diameter with 5 petals, 5 sepals and 5 stamens. Blooming occurs from February to April. The bright green heart-shaped, toothed leaves are mostly found near the base of the plants and range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches.

The genus name Viola is one of the common classical flower names (like Rosa). The species name pedunculata means "with a distinct stalk" and refers to the prominent flower stems. Johnny-jump-ups are the only member of the Violet family that grows natively in the region.

Contributed by Liz Baumann

Originally featured: February 2012
Last modified: May 12 2017 23:41:05.
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley
Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California, by Nancy Dale
Images Botanical Terms for Leaves