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Lilliputian Violet

Top 10 New Species of 2013

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Lilliputian Violet

Viola lilliputana
Not only is the Lilliputian violet among the smallest violets in the world, it is also one of the most diminutive terrestrial dicots. Known only from a single locality in an intermontane plateau of the high Andes of Peru, Viola lilliputana lives in the dry puna grassland ecoregion. Specimens were first collected in the 1960s, but the species was not described as a new until 2012. The entire above ground portion of the plant is barely 1 cm tall. Named, obviously, for the race of little people on the island of Lilliput in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

Country: Peru

Reference:
Ballard, H. E. and H. H. Iltis. 2012. Viola lilliputana sp. Nov. (Viola sect. Andinium, Violaceae), one of the world’s smallest violets, from the Andes of Peru. Brittonia 64(4), 353-358.

Photo credit:
Hugh H. Iltis (for puna habitat), Harvey Ballard (for plant)