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Wood Dog Violet

Viola reichenbachiana

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Violaceae (Violet)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Hedgerows, roadsides, rocky places, woodland.

Purple, 5 petals
Five irregular-shaped violet-coloured petals with the lower one spurred. The flowers are solitary and nodding. The Common Dog Violet has smaller and paler flowers and a creamy-coloured spur. The Wood Dog Violet flower has a purple to violet-coloured spur making this flower easy to distinguish. The 5 sepals are pointed, as with other Dog Violet species. 5 stamens.
An egg-shaped, 3 lobed capsule.
The basal leaves are arranged in a rosette at ground level. The stem leaves are alternate and stalked. The leaves are heart-shaped with round-toothed edges. Also, the leaves are slightly longer than broad.
Not scented.
Other Names:
Common Blue Violet, Early Dog Violet, Pale Wood Violet, Reichenbach's Violet, Slender Wood Violet.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Viola reichenbachiana is a species of violet in the family Violaceae. It is native to Central and Eastern Europe and is known for its striking blue flowers. The plant is usually found in moist, rocky or sandy soils, and is often used in rock gardens or as ground cover. It typically blooms in the spring and summer. It is a low-growing perennial plant and grows to a height of about 15 cm. It is also commonly known as Reichenbach's violet, or Common blue violet.


Wood Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana) is a beautiful and unique species of violet that is native to the temperate regions of Europe and Asia. This flowering plant is also known as the Reichenbach's Violet or the Alpine Violet and is considered to be one of the most ornamental violets in the world.

The Wood Dog Violet is a small plant that typically grows to a height of 6-8 inches and spreads to about 12 inches. It has delicate, light green leaves that are oval in shape and are covered with small, stiff hairs. The leaves form a dense rosette that serves as the base of the plant.

One of the defining features of the Wood Dog Violet is its striking flowers. The flowers are typically 2-3 cm in diameter and have five petals that are either blue, violet, or purple in color. The flowers are also characterized by their unique yellow markings that form a distinct ‘V’ shape. These markings make the flowers of the Wood Dog Violet stand out, and they are often used in ornamental gardens and rock gardens.

The Wood Dog Violet blooms from late spring to early summer and produces its flowers on long, thin stems. The flowers are pollinated by insects such as bees and butterflies and are also known to attract hummingbirds. The plant is also known to produce seeds, which can be used to propagate new plants.

The Wood Dog Violet is relatively easy to grow and care for. It thrives in well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade conditions. The plant is also drought-tolerant, making it an ideal choice for gardeners who live in arid regions. It is also a hardy plant and can withstand cold temperatures and frost.

The Wood Dog Violet is a unique and beautiful species of violet that is perfect for ornamental gardens and rock gardens. Its delicate flowers and light green leaves make it a popular choice among gardeners and flower enthusiasts.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Wood Dog Violet also has some medicinal uses. The plant has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including respiratory problems, skin conditions, and digestive issues. The plant is also said to have a calming effect and is used to soothe anxiety and stress.

However, it is important to note that the medicinal properties of the Wood Dog Violet have not been extensively studied and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any health concerns, it is always best to consult a doctor or healthcare provider.

The Wood Dog Violet is also of cultural significance in some regions. For example, in some parts of Europe, the plant is associated with springtime and the arrival of new life. It is also a symbol of purity and innocence and is sometimes used in wedding bouquets and other special occasions.

When it comes to growing the Wood Dog Violet, it is important to remember that it is a slow-growing plant and can take a few years to reach its full potential. However, once established, the plant is relatively low maintenance and requires very little care. It is also a good choice for gardeners who want to attract wildlife to their gardens, as the plant is a popular food source for birds and other insects.

The Wood Dog Violet is a beautiful, versatile, and fascinating plant that is worth considering for your garden. Whether you are interested in its ornamental value, its medicinal properties, or its cultural significance, the Wood Dog Violet is a unique and valuable addition to any garden.

It is also important to consider the conservation status of the Wood Dog Violet when planting it in your garden. In some regions, the plant is considered to be rare or endangered, and it is important to ensure that it is not collected from the wild or grown from wild-collected seeds. Instead, it is recommended to purchase plants or seeds from reputable sources and to practice sustainable horticulture practices.

One way to support the conservation of the Wood Dog Violet is to participate in citizen science initiatives, such as monitoring populations in the wild and reporting observations to local authorities or botanical gardens. This helps to gather important information about the plant and its habitat and can aid in conservation efforts.

In addition, it is important to be mindful of the potential impact of invasive species in the area where the Wood Dog Violet is growing. Invasive species can compete with native plants for resources and can alter the habitat in ways that are harmful to native species. It is important to be vigilant and to take action to control invasive species when necessary.

Finally, it is important to remember that the Wood Dog Violet is a protected species in some regions and that it is illegal to collect or remove plants from the wild without a permit. It is important to be aware of the regulations in your area and to act in accordance with local laws and regulations.

In conclusion, the Wood Dog Violet is a beautiful and unique species of violet that is well worth considering for your garden. It is important to be mindful of its conservation status, to support conservation efforts, and to act in accordance with local laws and regulations. With proper care, the Wood Dog Violet can be a valuable and rewarding addition to any garden.


Wood Dog Violet filmed alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Lancashire on the 24th March 2023.


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