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Mountain Pansy

Viola lutea

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Violaceae (Violet)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, meadows, mountains, rocky places, woodland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Either all yellow, or yellow with upper 2 of the 5 petals blue-violet. Spur usually being at least twice as long as the sepal-appendages.
A fruit capsule containing numerous seeds.
The leaves are broad to narrow lanceolate and are heavily toothed. The pinnately lobed leafy stipules have lanceolate teeth.
The fragrance of the Mountain Pansy, found in the UK and other parts of Europe, is delicate and captivating. It exudes a sweet, subtle scent that is reminiscent of fresh, clean mountain air. The fragrance carries a hint of wildflower sweetness, with soft, earthy undertones that evoke the pristine alpine environments where it thrives. As you approach a cluster of Mountain Pansies in bloom, the air is gently infused with this enchanting aroma, making it a delightful experience for anyone exploring the highland meadows of the UK. The fragrance of the Mountain Pansy adds to the overall sensory delight of the alpine landscape, creating a connection between nature and those fortunate enough to encounter this lovely flower in its native habitat.
Other Names:
Mountain Vine, Mountain Violet, Yellow Wood Violet.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Viola lutea, commonly known as the yellow wood violet, is a species of flowering plant in the violet family, Violaceae. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North America and is typically found growing in woodlands, meadows, and along forest edges. It has small, bright yellow flowers that bloom in spring and summer. The leaves are also edible, and have been traditionally used in salads and sandwiches. It is a perennial plant and reproduces by seed or by underground rhizomes. It is considered a threatened species in some areas due to habitat loss. It is also a parent species of the popular hybrid pansy, Viola x wittrockiana, which is often used in ornamental gardening.


Mountain Pansy, also known as Viola lutea, is a stunning wildflower found in the mountainous regions of Europe. With its bright yellow petals and purple-tinged base, it is a sight to behold, attracting not only the human eye but also a variety of pollinators.

This delicate wildflower belongs to the Viola genus, which includes more than 500 species of plants found throughout the world. Violas are known for their heart-shaped leaves and five-petaled flowers, which can range in color from blue and purple to yellow and white.

Mountain Pansy typically grows in alpine meadows, rocky slopes, and other high-altitude habitats, where it thrives in cool, moist conditions. It is a hardy plant, able to survive harsh winter conditions and often blooms in the early spring, when few other flowers are in bloom.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Mountain Pansy is its relationship with pollinators. Like many other flowers, it has coevolved with insects to ensure successful pollination. The flower's bright yellow color and sweet scent attract a wide variety of bees, butterflies, and other insects, which then carry pollen from flower to flower.

In addition to its aesthetic beauty and ecological importance, Mountain Pansy has a long history of medicinal use. Its leaves and flowers have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems, headaches, and digestive issues. Some traditional medicine practitioners also use the plant to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Despite its many benefits, Mountain Pansy faces a number of threats in the wild. Habitat loss, climate change, and over-collection by humans are all contributing to the decline of this beautiful wildflower. Conservation efforts are underway in many parts of Europe to protect Mountain Pansy and other threatened plant species, but more needs to be done to ensure their survival for future generations.

Mountain Pansy is also a popular ornamental plant in gardens, particularly in Europe. Its bright yellow color and hardy nature make it a popular choice for rock gardens, alpine gardens, and other naturalistic landscapes. It can also be grown in pots or containers, making it a versatile addition to any garden.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological value, Mountain Pansy has also been the subject of scientific research. Some studies have investigated its potential use in the treatment of cancer, due to its high levels of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.

Mountain Pansy is also steeped in folklore and mythology. In many European cultures, it is associated with love, friendship, and good luck. Some legends even claim that Mountain Pansy can bring good fortune to those who carry it or wear it as a talisman.

Mountain Pansy is not only a beautiful and important plant, but it also plays a significant role in the cultural heritage of the regions where it grows. For example, in the Italian Alps, Mountain Pansy is traditionally used to create an herbal liqueur called Genepi. The liqueur is made by steeping the plant in alcohol, and it is believed to have a variety of health benefits, including aiding digestion and improving circulation.

Mountain Pansy is also a popular subject in art and literature. Its bright yellow petals and delicate form have inspired artists and writers for centuries, appearing in paintings, poems, and even folk songs. For example, the Austrian poet Georg Trakl wrote a poem called "Mountain Pansy," which evokes the plant's beauty and fragility:

"Golden glow from mountain rocks,
Innocent flower, once so bright,
Deadly pale, crushed and forlorn,
Fading now in deathly light."

Mountain Pansy is a truly remarkable plant with many layers of significance. Its beauty, ecological importance, medicinal properties, cultural heritage, and artistic inspiration all contribute to its value and importance in our world. As we work to protect and conserve this and other threatened plant species, we are not only preserving the natural world, but also the rich cultural and historical legacy that comes with it.

Mountain Pansy is not only an important plant in its own right, but it also plays a vital role in the alpine ecosystem where it grows. As a wildflower, it helps to provide food and habitat for a variety of animals, including bees, butterflies, and other insects. These pollinators are essential for the reproduction of many other plant species, making Mountain Pansy an important part of the larger ecosystem.

In addition, Mountain Pansy is also a valuable indicator species for environmental health. Because it is sensitive to changes in temperature, moisture, and other environmental factors, its presence or absence can help researchers and conservationists to monitor the health of the ecosystem as a whole. By tracking changes in Mountain Pansy populations over time, scientists can gain insight into the impact of climate change and other environmental stressors on alpine habitats.

Finally, the conservation of Mountain Pansy and other threatened plant species is also important for human well-being. Many of these plants have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, providing natural remedies for a variety of ailments. In addition, the loss of biodiversity can have ripple effects throughout the ecosystem, impacting everything from soil health to water quality to air quality.

In conclusion, Mountain Pansy is much more than just a pretty wildflower. It is a vital part of the alpine ecosystem, an important indicator of environmental health, and a valuable resource for human well-being. As we work to protect and conserve this and other threatened plant species, we are not only preserving the natural world, but also the many benefits that come with it.

30 Mountain Pansy Facts

The Mountain Pansy, scientifically known as Viola lutea, is a beautiful alpine flower found in various mountainous regions of Europe. Here are 30 facts about the Mountain Pansy:

  1. The Mountain Pansy is a species of violet, belonging to the Violaceae family.

  2. It is also commonly known as the Yellow Mountain Violet.

  3. The scientific name "Viola lutea" derives from the Latin word "lutea," which means yellow.

  4. This wildflower is native to alpine and subalpine regions in Europe.

  5. The Mountain Pansy typically grows at higher altitudes, often above 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) in the Alps and other mountain ranges.

  6. It is known for its distinctive bright yellow flowers with five petals.

  7. The flowers of the Mountain Pansy are usually around 2-3 centimeters in diameter.

  8. The plant's leaves are heart-shaped and green.

  9. Mountain Pansies often have a compact growth habit.

  10. It thrives in well-drained, rocky, and often calcareous soils.

  11. The flower's blooming period is generally from late spring to early summer, depending on the altitude and climate.

  12. Mountain Pansies are known for their resilience in harsh mountain environments.

  13. They can withstand cold temperatures and snow, as well as short growing seasons.

  14. The flowers are pollinated by various insects, including bees and butterflies.

  15. These violets often grow in clusters or small groups, creating patches of vibrant yellow in mountain meadows.

  16. Mountain Pansies are not typically cultivated and are mostly found in their natural habitat.

  17. The flower's vibrant yellow color serves as a beacon for pollinators in alpine regions.

  18. They are part of the diverse flora of alpine ecosystems, contributing to biodiversity.

  19. Mountain Pansies are an essential food source for certain wildlife in the mountains.

  20. They can be found in mountainous regions of countries such as Switzerland, Austria, France, and Italy.

  21. Mountain Pansy populations can vary significantly from year to year due to changing weather conditions.

  22. The Mountain Pansy is a popular subject for botanical illustrations and nature photography.

  23. It is a symbol of the beauty and resilience of alpine flora.

  24. Mountain Pansies have been used in traditional herbal medicine for their mild medicinal properties.

  25. The bright yellow color of the petals has symbolic significance in various cultures.

  26. In some regions, Mountain Pansies are considered a symbol of hope and positivity.

  27. Climate change and habitat loss are potential threats to the Mountain Pansy.

  28. Conservation efforts are in place to protect this delicate alpine flower.

  29. Mountain Pansies can be found in a variety of mountain environments, from rocky slopes to lush meadows.

  30. The sight of a field of blooming Mountain Pansies is a breathtaking spectacle, offering a glimpse of the natural beauty of alpine regions.


Mountain Pansies filmed at Ravenstonedale in Cumbria on the 14th May 2023.


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