This attractive spring flowering perennial, wild cousin of the more cultivated garden violets and pansies, is common in woods, hedge banks, heaths and grasslands throughout Scotland.
Like all pansies and violets it has 5-petalled flowers borne singly on long stalks. Each flower has 2 top petals projecting upwards, 2 side petals and an enlarged lower petal which is often marked with guide lines for insects, directing them to the nectar hidden inside the long tube-like spur behind the lowest petal.
The Common Dog Violet, also known as Wood Violet, has flowers which are 18-22mm long, with blue-violet petals, slightly overlapping each other, and fading to white at the centre. The spur that contains the nectar is about 3mm long, furrowed at the tip and usually white or pale violet.
Heart-shaped leaves grow in a basal rosette, then on long stalks or petioles further up the stem. The leaves are glabrous (hairless) and dark green. They can appear wrinkled on the surface with rounded crenulations, or shallow teeth, around the edges. The stipules, or leaf bases appear toothed like a comb and are lance-shaped.