Early Dog-violet - Viola reichenbachiana


Glabrous or sligthly hairy, low growing plant with a slight basal leaf rosette, and lateral leafy flowering stems. Leaves heart shaped, as long as wide. Flowers violet, generally darker in the centre 12 to 18 mm; not fragrant, with a slender straight dark violet-blue spur, not furrowed or notched.

Similar Species

Very similar to Common Dog-violet and both flower early in the year. Common Dog-violet has a pale, almost white spur which is distinctly notched at the rear.   It can also be confused with Sweet Violet.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Sepal appendages are short (less than 1.5mm) - this is the part that projects backwards towards the stems.  Sepals are lanceolate (long and pointed).Spur is darker than petals, and usually straight, narrow and un-notched.

Recording advice

Side-on photos showing the spur and sepals are needed.  This cannot be identified from a 'full-face' photo.


Woods, shady habitats, coppices and hedgebanks.

When to see it

March to June.

Life History


UK Status

Locally frequent or even locally common in some parts of England but scarce or rare elsewhere in Britain.

VC55 Status

Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 27 of the 617 tetrads.

The current Checklists (Jeeves 2011) has it listed as Native, in old woodland; occasional, but sometime locally frequent.  

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map