Information on Early Dog-violet

Common Name: Early Dog-violet
Scientific Name: Viola reichenbachiana
Irish Name: Sailchuach luath
Family Group: Violaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Early Dog-violet could sometimes be confused with:

Violet, Marsh, Violet, Fen, Dog-violet, Common, Violet, Sweet,

Growing to a height of about 15cm, this pretty little plant quite closely resembles Viola riviniana or Common Dog-violet. The main difference is the spur. In this species the spur at the back of the flower is darker than the petals and it does not have a notch. The delicate flowers (12-20mm across) are violet in colour; they have 2 narrow upper petals, a dark-veined throat and their spurs are straight. The sepals have short appendages. The flowers are solitary on almost hairless stems. The leaves are heart-shaped with toothed margins and are on long stalks. The stipules are fringed and are narrower than those of Common Dog-violet. Early Dog-violet grows in woods, hedgerows and shady places. It is a native perennial, scattered throughout Ireland except in West Munster. It flowers from March to May and belongs to the Violaceae or Violet family. 

I first saw and photographed this little flower in Foulkesmill, Co Wexford in May 2013, thanks to a suggestion, as to where I might see it, from Paul Green, BSBI Vice-county Recorder for Counties Waterford and Wexford.

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

Dog-violet, Early
Dog-violet, Early

Gerard’s Herbal suggests that ‘The flowers are good for all inflammations, especially of the sides and lungs. They take away hoarseness of the chest, the ruggedness of the windpipe and jaws and take away thirst’.  Culpeper says that ‘they ease pains in the head, caused through want of sleep.’