Sweet Violet - Viola odorata


    Low, somewhat hairy plant, with long rooting runners. Leaves oval, with a deeply heart shaped base in basal rosettes. Stipules blunt, usually fringed. Flowers, often dark violet with a short (6 mm) violet spur, but can be white with a violet spur, rarely pinkish. Fragrant.  Flower stalks with bracts in the middle.

    Similar Species

    Viola hirta, riviniana, reichenbachiana

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Sepals blunt, leaves (stalks and blades) and capsule hairy; hairs short (less than 0.3mm) and reflexed or apressed (i.e lying flat or bent down); plants with stolons or runners

    Recording advice

    This is not easy to identify from a photo of the flowers 'full-face'.  A side-on photos of the flower showing sepals, plus appressed/reflexed hairs on leaves and capsules, or notes should give confirmation of this; photos showing runners.   


    Often in shaded places, woods, coppices, hedgerows. It is grown in gardens and often planted in churchyards; frequently escapes.

    When to see it

    February to May, but occasionally August and September.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Fairly common throughout Britain except in the far north.

    VC55 Status

    Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 296 of the 617 tetrads.

    In the current Checklist (Jeeves, 2011) it is 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