These little flowers are one of my favourites – field pansy or Viola arvensis to give the latin. Viola is the genus name, whilst the latin epithet arvensis translates to ‘of the field’. They are a wild species of pansy which is native to the UK. The structure and style of the flower will be familiar to anybody who has seen the ubiquitous garden varieties of pansy, but this species is paler and more subtle in colouration.
The species is often described as an ‘arable weed’ as the disturbed soils of arable land suit the annual lifestyle of the species. It can often be found in other areas of disturbed land as well – this one was growing at the edge of a little-used track, just on the edge of the tarmac where it meets the grass verge.
The species has a reasonably long flowering season – from April through to October. This flexibility in flowering perhaps accounts for the ability of this species to colonise arable environments, compared with it’s spring-time relatives such as the dog violets which typically finish flowering by May.