Open the Advanced Search

Common Dog Violet

Viola riviniana

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.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Violaceae (Violet)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
10 centimetres tall
Cliffs, gardens, grassland, heathland, hedgerows, meadows, moorland, mountains, roadsides, rocky places, seaside, woodland.

Purple, 5 petals
Violet, 5 overlapping petals. Its pointed sepals distinguish this flower from Sweet Violet and Hairy Violet. Its spur is curved, pale and notched at the end.
A smooth seed capsule with 3 valves.
Bright green, heart-shaped and long-stalked leaves. The leaves are alternate and stipules are present. The margins of the leaves are round-toothed (crenate).
Scentless, unlike most Violets. As opposed to Sweet Violet, the name Dog supposedly means that it lacks fragrance, meaning it is only suitable for dogs.
Other Names:
Blue Mice, Blunt-spurred Violet, Common Violet, Cuckoo's Shoe, Shoes and Stockings, Wood Violet.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Viola riviniana, also known as common dog-violet, is a species of violet native to Europe and Asia. It is a small perennial plant that grows to around 8-15 cm tall. The flowers are deep blue-purple, with a yellow spot on the lower petal, and appear in spring and early summer. The leaves are heart-shaped and slightly hairy. It grows in a wide range of habitats including woodlands, hedgerows and grasslands. It is also cultivated as an ornamental plant and naturalize easily.


Common Violet (Viola riviniana) is a delicate and beautiful wildflower that is widely distributed across the temperate regions of the world. Its scientific name, Viola riviniana, was given to it in honor of the English botanist, Robert Rivington.

The Common Violet is a low-growing herbaceous plant that typically grows to a height of around 4-10 cm. It has a compact rosette of leaves that are medium to dark green in color and have a slightly hairy texture. The leaves are heart-shaped with scalloped edges and are typically 5-10 cm in length.

The Common Violet is best known for its lovely flowers, which are typically 5-10 cm in diameter and are produced in a range of colors including blue, purple, yellow, and white. The flowers have five petals, with the lower two petals being slightly larger than the upper three. The flowers are typically produced in the spring and early summer and are a popular food source for a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths.

In addition to its beauty, the Common Violet also has a number of medicinal uses. For example, the leaves and flowers of the plant have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including skin irritations, respiratory problems, and headaches. In addition, the plant is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and is sometimes used in traditional medicine to treat conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism.

If you are interested in growing Common Violets, they are relatively easy to care for and are ideal for planting in a variety of different environments, including woodlands, meadows, and gardens. They prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and can be grown from seed or from cuttings.

The Common Violet is a beautiful and versatile plant that is well worth considering for anyone who is looking for a low-maintenance addition to their garden. Whether you are looking for a stunning display of color or simply want to enjoy the many health benefits of this lovely wildflower, the Common Violet is sure to be a great choice.

In addition to its beauty and medicinal properties, the Common Violet also has a rich cultural significance. In many cultures, the plant has long been associated with love, loyalty, and virtue, and has been used in a variety of traditional rituals and ceremonies.

For example, in ancient Greece, the Common Violet was dedicated to the goddess, Aphrodite, and was believed to symbolize love and fertility. In medieval Europe, the plant was often used to symbolize faithfulness and was frequently given as a gift to a loved one as a symbol of love and devotion.

The Common Violet is also a popular plant for wildflower gardens and is often grown alongside other spring-blooming plants, such as crocuses, daffodils, and tulips. This creates a stunning display of color and fragrance that is sure to attract a variety of wildlife to your garden.

In terms of wildlife, the Common Violet is a vital food source for a variety of insects and animals, including bees, butterflies, and caterpillars. These insects are crucial for the health of our ecosystems and play a vital role in pollination and maintaining the balance of our natural habitats.

The Common Violet is not only a beautiful and versatile plant but also a plant that holds a rich cultural and ecological significance.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that the Common Violet is also a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of ways in your garden or home. For example, the leaves and flowers can be used in a variety of culinary dishes, including salads, teas, and syrups. The plant can also be dried and used in potpourri or as an attractive filler in flower arrangements.

In addition, the Common Violet can also be used in landscaping and can be planted along borders, in rock gardens, or in woodland gardens. When planted in masses, the Common Violet can create an attractive groundcover that will add color and texture to your garden.

In terms of care, the Common Violet is relatively low-maintenance and is adaptable to a variety of growing conditions. It prefers well-drained soil and partial shade but can also tolerate full sun, making it an ideal choice for a variety of garden environments.

The Common Violet is a plant that offers a wealth of benefits, both in terms of its beauty, versatility, and cultural and ecological significance. Whether you are an experienced gardener or simply looking for a beautiful and low-maintenance plant to add to your garden, the Common Violet is sure to be a great choice.

It's also worth mentioning that the Common Violet is an important plant for conservation efforts. Unfortunately, due to habitat loss, pollution, and over-collecting, many wildflower species, including the Common Violet, are at risk of extinction. This makes it all the more important to protect and preserve these beautiful plants, both in the wild and in our gardens.

There are many ways that you can help to conserve the Common Violet and other wildflowers. For example, you can participate in local conservation efforts and work to protect the habitats of these plants. You can also be mindful of where you source your plants and seeds, and make sure that they are grown and collected in a sustainable and responsible manner.

In addition, you can also help to conserve wildflowers by planting native species in your own garden. This not only helps to provide a habitat for wildlife but also helps to conserve the genetic diversity of these important plants.

Finally, it's important to educate others about the importance of wildflowers, both in terms of their beauty and their ecological and cultural significance. By spreading awareness and encouraging others to appreciate and protect these plants, we can help to ensure that the Common Violet and other wildflowers will be enjoyed for generations to come.

In conclusion, the Common Violet is not only a beautiful and versatile plant but also an important plant for conservation efforts. By protecting and preserving this plant, both in the wild and in our gardens, we can help to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy its beauty and ecological significance.


Common Dog Violet filmed in Chorley, Lancashire on the 23rd April 2023.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map