Violet, Hairy

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Violet, Hairy

Botanical Name: Viola hirta
Family: N.O. Violaceae
Part Used: Whole plant.

The Hairy Violet (Viola hirta), the Dog Violet (V. canina), the Marsh Violet ( V. palustris) (which has pale lilac flowers) and the Heartsease or Pansy (V. tricolor) are other well-defined species of indigenous Violets, most of them, however, being subject to variations, which have been described by botanists as sub-species.

Henslow says V. palustris is not uncommon in the north, but rarer in southern counties. It has very smooth leaves, as is usually the case with semi-aquatic plants; the flowers are scentless. The same authority mentions another variety, Y. calcarea, a dwarfed, starved form of V. hirta.

Description: The Hairy Violet bears a very considerable resemblance to V. odorata, the Sweet Violet. The main points of difference are as follows: in the Hairy Violet the flowers are almost or quite scentless; it but rarely throws out the trailing shoots that are so characteristic a feature in the Sweet Violet; the hairs on the stem are in the Sweet Violet deflexed, while in the Hairy Violet they are spreading and are thus more conspicuous, sufficiently so to give the popular name to the plant. The little scales on the flowerstems, called bracts, are in Sweet Violet ordinarily above the middle of the stalk, while in the Hairy Violet they are ordinarily (in neither case invariably) below this point. This species is more frequently found in the east of England than the west, and is common in chalk and limestone districts or near the sea.