Viola hirta   Hairy Violet C DD N

Viola hirta front viola hirta sepals

The usual order of flowering of the common early violets is: first Viola odorata (Sweet Violet) which can flower in the snows of late winter, second Viola hirta (Hairy Violet), third Viola reichenbachiana (Early Dog-violet) and then later in mid Spring, Viola riviniana (Common Dog-violet) plus all the others.

Hairy Violet can sometimes give itself away by being both very early flowering and having hairy pedicels (flower stalks) but these specimens were not hairy at all. The leaves, particularly on the underside are often hairy. The color of these flowers was universally a darker purple-blue than either Viola reichenbachiana or Viola riviniana but the distinguishing feature is the blunt sepals (Right photo). Viola odorata has even blunter sepals of course but the leaves are quite distinctive and different. These Hairy Violets were flowering at the same time as the very first Viola riviniana the sepals of which were distinctly long and pointed with large sepal appendages.

It may be my imgaination but most of the Viola hirta I saw had the top two petals pointing slightly backwards making the thing difficult to photograph.

There is a great deal of Viola hirta to be found in southern and central England but in Wales the heaviest concentrations are around the north and south coasts. In south east Scotland there are some sites but only a few in western Ireland.

Viola hirta

Viola hirta Hairy Violet

Great Orme, North Wales 21st April 2006

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Viola hirta Hairy Violet

Great Orme, North Wales 21st April 2006

Added on 21st April 2006, modified 12th January 2007, updated 24th February 2012

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