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Sweet Violet

Viola odorata

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Violaceae (Violet)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, lawns, parks, roadsides, scrub, woodland.

Purple, 5 petals
Solitary, nodding flowers with bluish or violet petals but sometimes white, yellow, pink or lilac. Violet and white flowers are the most frequent. The sepals are blunt. 5 stamens.
Globular, pale purple fruit capsule, up to 7mm long.
Dark green, stalked leaves emerging from a basal rosette at ground level. The round-toothed leaves are heart-shaped. Sparsely haired. The hairs on the leaf stalks point downwards. Perennial.
The flowers are strongly aromatic. Sweet Violet is the only fragrant species of Violet in the UK.
Other Names:
English Violet, Florist's Violet, Garden Violet, March Violet, Sweet Pansy, Wood Violet.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Viola odorata, also known as sweet violet, is a species of violet in the family Violaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia, and is a hardy, low-growing perennial. The plant has small, sweetly fragrant, purple, blue or white flowers that bloom in the spring and sometimes in the fall. The leaves are dark green and glossy and the plant can grow to a height of about 10-15 cm. The plant prefers moist and well-drained soils and partial shade. The plant is often used in gardens as ground cover or in rock gardens. It is also used in traditional medicine and perfumery. The flowers and leaves are edible and can be used in salads, desserts, or as a garnish.


Sweet Violet, also known as Viola odorata, is a beautiful and fragrant wildflower that has been widely cultivated for its attractive blooms and delicate fragrance. This plant is native to Europe and western Asia, but has been introduced to many other parts of the world, where it is now commonly grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and parks.

Sweet violets have a distinctive, sweet fragrance that is often used in perfumes, soaps, and other cosmetic products. The plant itself is small, with delicate green leaves and small, purple or white flowers that bloom in early spring. The flowers are usually about 1-2 cm in size and are borne on long, slender stems.

In addition to their aesthetic and aromatic appeal, sweet violets have a long history of medicinal use. They were used by ancient Greeks and Romans to treat a variety of ailments, including headaches, colds, and respiratory problems. The plant is also said to have mild sedative properties, which may help to soothe the mind and promote relaxation.

Despite their popularity, sweet violets are relatively easy to grow and care for. They prefer a moist, well-drained soil and partial shade, and can be propagated easily from seeds or cuttings. They are also low-maintenance, requiring only occasional watering and a little fertilizer during the growing season.

Sweet violets are not only beautiful and fragrant, but they also have a rich history and a range of cultural and practical uses. Whether you are looking to add a touch of beauty to your garden or are searching for a natural remedy, sweet violets are a wonderful choice.

In addition to their ornamental and medicinal uses, sweet violets have been used for culinary purposes for centuries. The leaves and flowers of the plant are edible and have a delicate, slightly sweet flavor that is perfect for use in salads, soups, and other dishes. They can also be candied and used as a decoration for cakes and desserts.

Sweet violets have also played a role in folklore and literature. In medieval times, they were thought to have magical properties and were often used in love potions and spells. In literature, they are often associated with love and innocence and are featured in poems, songs, and other works of art.

In the language of flowers, sweet violets symbolize modesty, loyalty, and love. They have also been used to express feelings of sympathy and remembrance, and are often given as gifts or included in funeral arrangements.

Sweet violets are a versatile and charming plant that offer a wide range of benefits. Whether you are looking to add beauty to your garden, explore their medicinal properties, or incorporate them into your cooking, sweet violets are sure to impress. With their sweet fragrance, delicate blooms, and rich history, they are a wonderful addition to any collection.

It's worth mentioning that sweet violets are also an important source of food for many species of wildlife, including bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. By planting sweet violets in your garden, you can help support the local ecosystem and contribute to the conservation of these important species.

Furthermore, sweet violets are also used in landscape design and can be used to create beautiful and fragrant borders, rock gardens, and woodland gardens. They are particularly well-suited for shady areas, where many other plants struggle to thrive.

It's important to note that sweet violets can sometimes become invasive in certain areas, especially in regions where they are not native. It's always a good idea to research the plant's specific growing habits and requirements before planting, and to take steps to control their spread if necessary.

Despite these considerations, sweet violets are an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels and offer a range of benefits and uses. Whether you are an experienced horticulturist or simply looking to add a touch of beauty to your outdoor space, sweet violets are an excellent choice.


Sweet Violet filmed in Formby, Lancashire on the 17th March 2023.


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