Not the most widespread of our Violets but surely the earliest to bloom, this little species flowers from February to early May in hedgebanks, woodland and is found mostly on calcareous soil where it forms patches. Its sweet-scented flowers are dark violet or white with a lilac spur and blunt sepals. The long-stalked leaves are broad, heart-shaped and slightly downy. These leaves grow larger as summer proceeds and there is a pair of small bracts at the leaf base. Sweet Violet is low-growing, to 15cm at most, with long, creeping runners from the base, and all the flowers and leaves emerge from the rootstock. Its fruits are egg-shaped. It is a perennial native and is found more often in the east and south-east than the west.
I first saw this little species inCo Wexford in April 2014. Most of the flowers were past their best at that stage but I took just a couple of photographs of what was still around. I hope to come across this lovely little wildflower again and get better images.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre