Hairy Violet - Viola hirta

Description

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.

Habitat

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

Perennial.

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.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map

MAP KEY:

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

UK Map