SWEET VIOLET

Viola odorata

Violet Family [Violaceae]

month8feb month8mar month8march month8apr month8april month8may

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8indigo flower8blue
 
inner
inner8white
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZspurred
 
stem
stem8square
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8sweet
sweet

25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A very low-grower, between 5 and 15cm high. Unlike the similar Hairy Violet it is a perennial and it spreads by underground rhizomes forming patches, but the runners may not be as obvious as folk would like. It is the first violet to flower.


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are usually a darker purple/violet than the similar Hairy Violet.


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Sweet Violet, unlike any other violet including the similar Hairy Violet the flowers emit a sweet fragrance, but your Author couldn't smell them.


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Unlike Hairy Violet the sepals are rounded, or at least appear so. Also, the stems do possess hairs, but unlike Hairy Violet they are short (up to 0.3mm long) and angled downwards (rather than long (0.3 - 1.0mm) and sticking out at a more or less normal to the stem).


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Sepals rounded. The flower stalks (petioles) are totally leafless.


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The flower spur at the rear is fairly short.


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Looking right into its 'open mouth' at the anthers and style. Whiskery white hairs both upper sides of the 'mouth'.


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Patch forming.


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Leaves heart-shaped and and often coming to a very rounded tip at the end - they are overall more rounded than those of the similar Hairy Violet (which are more oval, but still with a rounded end).


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Leaf teeth shallow and often rounded. The glossyness of the leaves is not a feature to be trusted in identification, they might be dull instead.


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Stems often square, with possibly one or two grooves down two opposite sides.


A MUTANT 'SWEET VIOLET'

(Which your Author calls 'Spock'))
25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
It looks fairly normal from this angle.


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Until you catch sight of it's 'ears' which are anomalously pointed.


25th March 2016, woods, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The sepals are also anomalously pointy, but otherwise it does indeed look like Sweet Violet.


Easily mistaken for : Hairy Violet (Viola hirta) but that has slightly longer leaves, hairs that stick outwards at right-angles, does not smell (not conclusive proof), and is an annual and lacks runners.

Hybridises with : Hairy Violet (Viola hirta) to produce Viola × scabra (perhaps the mutant shown above is of this hybrid - although neither parent has pointed sepals nor Spock-like 'ears').

Flowering earlier than all other violets it is a perennial which prefers to grow in open woodland, or on hedgebanks and scrub especially on lime-rich soils. It is a native, and is often found growing natively in churchyards but is also a garden flower (where the petals are longer and narrower and distinctly purple rather than dark mauve-blue. It is also commonly found in white but always with a dark mauve-blue spur. The leaves and the flowers all radiate out from a central point for each patch.


  Viola odorata  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Violaceae  

Distribution
 family8Violet family8Violaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Viola
Viola
(Violets)

SWEET VIOLET

Viola odorata

Violet Family [Violaceae]