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Pale Dog-violet

Viola lactea

Pale dog-violet in grass

A milky-flowered member of the violet family known in French as la Violette blanche (the white violet).

In fact the second part of its scientific name – lactea – means ‘milky’ in Latin. It has creeping stems originating from a rosette of leaves about its base.

Distribution

A species of humid heathland and grass heath in southern England, largely confined to key heathland districts including the Wealden and Thames Basin heaths, the New Forest and Dorset heaths, and through much of Devon and Cornwall (though rarely ever commonly).

Habitat

Pale Dog-violet is a species of humid heathland and grass heath (including the Culm grasslands), favouring areas with short vegetation and considerable bare ground created by burning, grazing or incidental disturbance such as rutting, turf cutting etc.

Pale dog-violet in grass

Key threats

The species’ greatest threat comes from the cessation of traditional management practices, notably winter swaling (burning of dead grass and dwarf shrubs) and traditional stock grazing, ideally by cattle and/or ponies.

Best time to see

May and June whilst flowering.

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