Viola odorata L.

Fully-hardy rhizomatous, semi-evergreen perennial with sweetly scented white or blue flowers in late winter and early spring.  Self-seeds readily.  Excellent for a wild garden.  There are numerous garden cultivars.  To 20cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

An ancient garden plant.  There were many named varieties in Victorian gardens in a range of shades of blue and white, both double and single, often with very large, showy flowers.  Aubrey vol.1 pl.XXIX/1789.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [H.233/1845].  The wild form of the English violet is well established in the gardens.  A Victorian cultivar, ‘The Csar’ with large, deep violet flowers, has recently been introduced.


The common violet of Europe, Viola odorata, does not really qualify as a florist’s flower but was very popular as both a garden plant and pot-grown for house decoration and for scenting rooms.

Published Apr 24, 2009 - 05:27 PM | Last updated Aug 01, 2010 - 03:23 PM

Illustrated is a violet with heart-shaped leaves and deep blue flowers with a white throat.  Aubrey pl.XXIX, 1789.

Viola odorata L. | Viola odorata L. | Aubrey pl.XXIX/1789 | BHL

More details about Viola odorata L.
Family Violaceae
Region of origin

Europe including Britain

Common Name

English violet, Garden violet, Sweet violet

Name in the Camden Park Record

Viola odorata blue 

Confidence level high