Reddish Vale Country Park


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Common Dog Violet

Common dog violet is a native perennial.

Very common throughout the British Isles except northern Scotland.

Found in woods, heaths and hedges.

Grows to a height of 20cm and may grow in clumps with 20 or 30 flowers.

The flowers vary in colour, they can be white.



Common dog violets can be a variable plant, which may either be hairless or slightly hairy. It is a perennial with long staled heart shaped leaves with wavy edges.

Like some other woodland plants, violets have seed capsules, which can be hurled out by an explosive mechanism. As there is little wind on a woodland floor this helps to give the plants a better chance to spread themselves. Common dog violets can throw their seeds about a metre.

Common dog violet does not have a rhizome by which it can spread itself, but instead it has adventitious buds on its roots, which can give rise to new plants.

The name Violet is thought to come from the Latin word Viola, the Latin form of the Greek Ione. There is a legend that when Jupiter changed his beloved Io into jealousy, he caused these modest flowers to spring forth from the earth to be fitting food for her, and he gave them her name. Another derivation of the word Violet is said to be from Vias (wayside).

Violets have always been in high regard for their healing properties, sweet violet and heartease or wild pansy are continued to be employed in modern herbal medicine.

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