Two subspecies recognized:
hemileucurus (Lichtenstein 1830). Type locality Mexico.
Occurs from southern Mexico south to Nicaragua. See Detailed Description.
mellitus Bangs 1902. Type locality Boquete, southern slope of Volcán de Chiriquí, Panamá.
Occurs in Costa Rica and western Panama. Similar to hemileucurus, but larger, with longer bill. Underparts of male more uniformly violet, not shading to blue on the belly. Upperparts (male) more extensively green, or (female) with coppery tinge. Also, throat of female more violet, less blue.
Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data reveals that hummingbirds (Trochilidae) constitute nine major clades, comprising the hermits, mangos, Patagona, topazes, coquettes, brilliants, mountain-gems, bees, and emeralds (McGuire et al. 2007). Sabrewings (Campylopterus), including the Violet Sabrewing (C. hemileucurus) belong to the emerald clade. According to this estimate, Campylopterus is sister to a clade made up of Antillean Crested Hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus) and Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti). Presumably the genera Abeillia, Stephanoxis, and Phaeochroa also are closely related to the Onychorhynchus-Klais-Campylopterus clade (McGuire et al. 2008), but were not included among the taxa investigated in this research.