Hairy Violet - Viola hirta


    This rather shrubby plant has no runners but a short rhizome and a dense leaf rosette. Leaves pale green, oblong-oval with a heart shaped base, stipules bluntly rounded. Flowers violet, 10 to 15 mm, not scented, with a violet spur. Bracts below the middle of the flower stalk. Capsule hairy. Leaf stems and underside of leaves often hairy.

    Similar Species

    Viola odorata is also hairy

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Leaves (stalks and blades) and capsule hairy; hairs long (c. 0.3mm - 1mm) and patent (i.e standing out); plants without stolons.  Unlike V odorata, it is not fragrant.

    Recording advice

    This is not easy to identify from a photo of the flowers alone.  

    The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification



    Open woods and other well wooded areas, railway verges, coppices, scrub and grassland, usually on calcareous soils.

    When to see it

    Flowers March to June.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Widespread in much of Britain except the north of Scotland and west Wales.

    VC55 Status

    Occasional and local in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 31 of the 617 tetrads with 56% of records received coming from railway verges.

    In the current Checklist (Jeeves 2011), it is listed as Native and Locally Frequent.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

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

    UK Map