Plants perennial, acaulescent, not stoloniferous, 4–15 cm; rhizome slender, not fleshy. Leaves basal, 2–12, prostrate to ascending; stipules linear-lanceolate, margins entire, apex acute; petiole 1.5–7 cm, not winged, glabrous or pubescent; blade unlobed, usually ovate, rarely orbiculate, 1–5 × 1–5 cm, base cordate, margins crenate to crenulate or serrate, eciliate, apex rounded to acute, surfaces glabrous or sometimes pubescent abaxially, strigose adaxially. Peduncles 3–6 cm, glabrous or pubescent. Flowers: sepals lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, margins eciliate, auricles 1–2 mm; petals light violet on both surfaces, lower 3 white basally and dark violet-veined, lateral 2 beardless, lowest 8–13 mm, spur pale to dark violet, elongated, 4–7 mm; style head beardless; cleistogamous flowers on prostrate to ascending peduncles. Capsules ovoid to ellipsoid, 4–8 mm, glabrous. Seeds brown, 1–2 mm. 2n = 24.
Phenology: Flowering May–Jun.
Habitat: Wet to moist places, thickets, mixed or coniferous woods
Elevation: 200–3000 m
Greenland, Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.S., Ont., Que., Sask., Yukon, Alaska, Colo., Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., N.H., N.Y., Pa., S.Dak., Vt., Wash., Wis., Eurasia.
Viola selkirkii occurs on the southwestern coast of Greenland, north to 63ºN (L. Brouillet, pers. comm.). Presence of V. selkirkii in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut is considered doubtful (L. Brouillet et al., http://canadensys.net/vascan). K. W. Allred (2008) said that V. selkirkii was considered by W. C. Martin and C. R. Hutchins (1980) to be expected in New Mexico.