Common Dog-violet

Updated: May 6

(Viola riviniana)

Common Dog-violet is the most common violet in the UK. It's an ancient woodland indicator and can be found in hedgerows and grassy banks as well as broadleaf woodland.


The 'dog' in the common name is because it is unscented so was considered inferior to other violets. It can be identified by it's broad white upturned flower spur and heart shaped leaves.

It flowers from April to June. They produce both open flowers and cleistogamous flowers, which are ones that remain closed and self-pollinate. Seed capsules open in July-August.

Common Dog-violet is an important food plant for a number of rare fritillary butterflies, and the main food plant for the caterpillars.

The Common Dog-violet is one of the species that we introduce in 'The Tree That Held The Moon' to inspire curiosity and give readers the opportunity to expand their nature vocabulary. Stories are a fantastic way to introduce children to new words and ideas in a fun way. They provide the opportunity for children - and adults - to infer the meanings of words that they do not know; stories help children develop their vocabulary by making connections between known and unknown words.


Discover The Wild has a really useful violet identification guide on their website here.






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