Pale Dog Violet - Viola lactea

Scientific Name: Viola lactea.

English Name: Pale Dog Violet.

French Name: La Violette lactée, la Violette blanche (='the white violet') or la Violette blanchatre (='the whitish violet').

5 Key Characters:
  • narrow spear shaped leaves.
  • pale milky violet or greyish pink flowers.
  • short greenish spurs projecting from the back of the flowers.
  • unscented.
  • creeping stems with no basal leaf rosette.
Lookalikes: Heath Dog Violet V. canina, which is more widespread but has wider leaves.

Habitat: Look for it in hot sunny places. It often grows in acid soil, very poor in nutrients and quite dry. It will take partial shade though and you can encounter it in a variety of habitats - heaths, damp grassland, heath or woodland fringes. In the Brenne its preferred habitat is warm neutral heathland and the associated grassland.

Flowering Period: April-May-June.

Status: Rare and localised (ie occuring only on a relatively few specific sites dotted about the area). In the wider scheme of things, very much restricted to the western half of France with the area covered by this blog more or less the centre of its range. It has never been a common plant.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

Photographs numbered from left to right and top to bottom. All photos enlarge in a new window if clicked. 1 - 2 on a ride in the Parc de Boussay, April.

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