Information on Sand Pansy

Common Name: Sand Pansy
Scientific Name: Viola tricolor ssp. curtisii
Irish Name: Goirmín duimhche
Family Group: Violaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Sand Pansy could sometimes be confused with:

Pansy, Wild, Pansy, Field,

A wildflower of dry grassland and sandy soil, this member of the well-loved Pansy family is a perennial plant with long-stalked yellow flowers (12-25mm across) which are larger than those of Viola arvensis or Field Pansy. There are two top petals, slightly overlapping, two wing-like side petals and a single larger petal.  Clearly marked paths lead pollinating insects into the centre of the flower over which is a translucent fringe.  Blooming from April to August, the petals are larger than the sepals and the flowers have short spurs.  The leaves are toothed, oval with a heart-shaped base and the leaf-like stipules are pinnately lobed.  This is a native plant, also known as Dune Pansy, and it belongs to the family Violaceae.

I first recorded this plant at Ballyteigue, Co Wexford in 2007 and I photographed it also.   

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Pansy, Sand
Pansy, Sand

This is a subspecies for which Ireland holds or possibly holds more than 25% of the European population (Ireland Red List No. 10 Vascular Plants)

'Pansies' is the title of the best-known collection of poems by D H Lawrence (1885-1930).  The title is not in reference to these flowers but he takes it from the French word 'Pensées' or thoughts.  In the foreword he writes:    

"I wish these 'Pansies' to be taken as thoughts rather than anything else; casual thoughts that are true while they are true and irrelevant when the mood and circumstance changes. I should like them to be as fleeting as pansies, which wilt so soon, and are so fascinating with their varied faces, while they last."