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Pale Dog Violet

Viola lactea

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:
10 centimetres tall
Fens, heathland, riverbanks, waterside, woodland.

Blue, 5 petals
Pale blue flowers, sometimes almost white. Similar to shorter-growing Heath Dog Violet (Viola canina) but the flowers of Heath Dog Violet are darker.
A 3-parted seed capsule.
The leaves are heart-shaped. The lower leaves are broad, lanceolate and wedge-shaped. Often purple-tinted.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Viola lactea is a species of violet that is native to Asia. It is a small perennial herb that typically grows to be about 10 cm tall. The leaves are green and smooth, and the flowers are blue or violet. It typically grows in moist, shaded areas and is often found in woodlands or along stream banks.


Pale Dog Violet (Viola lactea) is a species of violet that is native to North America. This small flowering plant belongs to the Violaceae family and is known for its delicate, pale purple blooms that bloom in the spring.

One of the key characteristics of the Pale Dog Violet is its preference for growing in open, disturbed areas. It can often be found in fields, meadows, and along the edges of forests. The plant has a low-growing habit, reaching a maximum height of just a few inches. The leaves are oval-shaped and have a hairy texture, and the flowers are small and typically have five petals.

While Pale Dog Violet is not a highly sought-after ornamental plant, it is important to note its ecological significance. This species serves as a food source for several species of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, which makes it an important contributor to local ecosystems. Additionally, the plant is known to have medicinal properties, and has been used by indigenous communities for treating a variety of ailments, such as headaches, colds, and digestive problems.

When it comes to growing Pale Dog Violet, it is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to care for. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial shade, but can tolerate a range of soil and light conditions. The plant is also quite hardy, and can withstand cold temperatures and periods of drought.

The Pale Dog Violet is a charming and delicate flowering plant that plays a crucial role in supporting local ecosystems and providing food for pollinators. If you are looking for an easy-to-care-for plant that adds a touch of color to your garden, consider growing this beautiful species.

In addition to its ecological and medicinal importance, Pale Dog Violet is also notable for its unique reproductive strategy. Unlike many other flowering plants, it relies on a combination of self-pollination and cross-pollination to reproduce. The plant's flowers have both male and female reproductive structures, making it possible for self-fertilization to occur. However, the flowers are also receptive to pollen from other individuals, which increases genetic diversity and ensures that offspring will have a range of traits from different parents.

Another interesting aspect of Pale Dog Violet is its distribution range. This species can be found across a wide area of North America, from Canada to the United States and down into Mexico. It is well adapted to a variety of habitats and can tolerate a range of soil types, from sandy to clay. This broad range of tolerance makes Pale Dog Violet a good choice for restoration and reforestation projects, as it can help to support the return of native plant communities in degraded or disturbed areas.

In terms of conservation, Pale Dog Violet is considered to be a common and widespread species. While it is not currently threatened, it is important to protect its habitats, as well as the pollinators that rely on it for food. This can be done by avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides in areas where the plant grows, and by supporting the restoration of native plant communities.

Pale Dog Violet is a fascinating and important species that deserves recognition for its ecological and medicinal significance, as well as its unique reproductive strategy and wide distribution range. Whether you are a gardener, naturalist, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, this plant is well worth getting to know.

In addition to its attractive flowers and ecological significance, Pale Dog Violet has cultural and historical significance. For many indigenous communities, this plant is an important cultural symbol, with a history of use in traditional medicine, food, and rituals.

For example, the pale purple blooms of this species were used by some indigenous communities as a source of dye for clothing and other textiles. The leaves and roots of the plant were also used as food, with the leaves being consumed fresh or dried, and the roots being roasted or boiled.

In addition to its practical uses, Pale Dog Violet has also played a role in traditional spiritual practices and rituals. For some indigenous communities, this plant was associated with the spirit world, and was believed to have protective powers or to bring good luck.

Despite its cultural significance, Pale Dog Violet has sometimes been overlooked or dismissed as a "weed." However, it is important to recognize the value of this species, and to work to conserve its habitats and protect its cultural significance.

In conclusion, Pale Dog Violet is not just a beautiful and ecologically important species, but also has a rich cultural history and significance. By appreciating and protecting this plant, we can help to conserve not only its ecological value, but also its cultural heritage.