Belongs to: flowers

Compare with: common dog-violet

Sweet violet Viola odorata

Also known as: garden violet, english violet

Best time to see: early Mar to mid May

Key facts

Low, creeping plant with heart-shaped leaves and violet or white flowers, growing from a central tuft

Grows on woodland margins or shady hedge banks

Roots send out runners, creating large patches; scented, unlike its close relative the common dog-violet


Has many medicinal uses, including a syrup made from leaves and flowers used to treat respiratory problems

Used also as a base for fragrances and perfumes

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Photo © Pat Allen

Photo © Tony Gunton