Common dog-violet

Common Dog-violet

©Philip Precey

Common dog-violet

Scientific name: Viola riviniana
Our most familiar wild violet, the Common dog-violet can be spotted in a range of habitats from woodland to grassland, hedgerows to pastures. Its pansy-like, purple flowers appear from April to June.

Species information


Height: up to 12cm

Conservation status


When to see

April to June


If you see a violet in the wild, it is most likely to be the Common dog-violet. This widespread plant lives happily in many different habitats, including woodland, grassland, heathland, hedgerows and old pasture. It flowers from April to June, but its flowers are not scented, unlike those of its cousin, the Sweet Violet, which was used as a perfume in Ancient Greece!

How to identify

The purple flowers of the Common dog-violet resemble those of pansies. It has heart-shaped leaves and, unlike some other types of violet, has no scent.



Did you know?

This plant is very important for several fritillary butterflies, including the Small pearl-bordered, the pearl-bordered and the silver-washed fritillaries, because they lay their eggs on it.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.