Dog-violet (Common) Viola riviniana

Status Green - Least concern
Best Time to See April, May, June
Colour Blue, Purple
Habitat Woodland, Grassland, Upland

'Welcome Maids of Honour, You doe bring In the Spring; And wait upon her' - Robert Herrick, "To Violets"

County flower of Lincolnshire.

The most common wild violet in the UK, it has distinctive bluish-purple petals, leafy stems and heart-shaped leaves in a basal rossette. The flowers have a pale spur. In Irish they are salchuach, 'cuckoo's heel', from this spur of the flower.

It is easily confused with Early Dog-violet (Viola reichenbachiana) which can be distinguished by being more petite and by its petals being lighter than the spur which is straight, pointed and not notched.


Common throughout the UK.


Woods and hedgebanks, but also pastures and mountain rocks.

Best time to see

Flowers from April to June

Did you know?

‘Dog' means it lacks scent, as opposed to ‘sweet' violet. Dog, like Horse, is a common English prefix for distinguishing an inferior species from its superior relative.

Local names include Blue mice, Cuckoo's shoe and Shoes and stockings. Other interesting monickers include Hypocrites, Pig violet, Horse violet, Summer violet and Snake violet.