A Rare White Violet

From late February to May in shade at the edges of woodland or in hedgerows we can find clumps of sweet violet (viola odorata).

viola_odorata_alba290This is our native violet and is commonly found with it’s typical deep or pale lilac coloured flowers but occasionally a rare white version appears (viola odorata alba).

The leaves are heart shaped and bright green, forming a carpet of ground cover with delicate flowers nodding on short, hairy, pale green stems.

The sweet violet has a beautiful and unmistakable perfume, once prized by the Victorians and was the flower of Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love.

Historically, the Sweet Violet has a long tradition of uses, including many medicinal applications. Crushed sweet violets were often strewn on cottage and church floors to mask odours.

The Native Sweet Violet can also be grown in our gardens, as long as it has a shaded or semi shaded area with good soil, it can thrive and self seed quite happily.

There are nurseries who specialise in the cultivation of these plants and Grove Nurseries in West Dorset houses the National collection.

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