Herbs & Plants

Viola reichenbachiana

Botanical Name: Viola reichenbachiana
Family: Violaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Viola
Species:V. reichenbachiana

Synonyms: V. sylvestris. Lam.

Common Names: Early dog-violet, Pale wood violet

Viola reichenbachiana is native to Europe, including Britain, from Sweden south and east to Spain, the Caucasus and Himalayas. It grows in the Woods, hedgebanks etc, usually on calcareous soil.

Perennial herb, 4.0-15.0 cm high, in fruiting upto 30 cm high. Stem procumbent at base. Leaves ovate, cordate, crenate, obtuse, basal leaves large, acauline leaves small. 0.44.5 x 0.3-4.2 cm, covered with reddish brown glands, 4-5-nerved; petiole 2.0-5.0 cm of basal leaves, 0.5-3.0 cm of acauline leaves. Stipules non-foliaceous, 2, opposite, brownish in colour with usually green apex, covered with reddish brown glands, linear-lanceolate, 0.5-2.0 x 0.2-0.4 cm, fimbriate, almost equal the width of stipule blade. Flowers upto 2.0 cm long, violet; pedicel glabrous, c. 4.0-7.0 cm long; bracteoles 2, opposite-subopposite, linear, 2-3 x 0.5-1 mm, acuminate, entire. Sepals attenuate, 5.0-8.0 x 1.5-2.5 mm, lanceolate, entire, acute, glabrous. Petals 5-10.0 x 2.5-3.0 mm, oblanceolate-narrowly obovate, obtuse, cuneate, entire, glabrous, marked with dark striations and spots; lateral petal obovate, slightly bigger than the rest, 12.0-15.0 x mm. Spur straight to slightly curvate, c. 5.0 mm long, obtuse. Ovary glabrous, broadly ovate, 1.0-1.5 x 0.5-1.0 mm, dark brown in colour; style 2.5 mm long, papillose at summit, beaked, beak forwarding upward. Capsule elliptic-lanceolate, 6.0-9.0 mm long, glabrous.

It is in flower from March to May. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Prefers a cool moist well-drained humus-rich soil in partial or dappled shade and protection from scorching winds. Tolerates sandstone and limestone soils but becomes chlorotic if the pH is too high. Prefers a pH between 6 and 6.5. Closely related to V. riviniana. All members of this genus have more or less edible leaves and flower buds, though those species with yellow flowers can cause diarrhoea if eaten in large quantities.

Seed – best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in the autumn or just after flowering. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.

Edible Uses:
Young leaves and flower buds – raw or cooked. When added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as okra. Some caution is advised if the plant has yellow flowers since these can cause diarrhoea if eaten in large quantities. A tea can be made from the leaves.

Mediciinal Uses:
The plant is used as a pectoral in the treatment of chest complaints, including tubercular problems. It is also used to treat cholera. The stems, leaves and flowers are bruised and applied to foul sores and wounds. They are also used to treat bites and stings.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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