Every year, I struggle to get to grips with the different violets and then, just as I start to, they’re done for another year and by the time spring comes round again, I’ve forgotten! There is some specific terminology for these flower which adds to the complexity and they are certainly in need of a hand-lens to tell apart.
I saw my first violets of the year on the walk into work this morning so I took one into captivity and keyed it out in the office. This one is early dog violet – Viola reichenbachiana. It typically flowers in March, but in this unseasonably warm spring, it is unsurprising to find it out in February.
The photos below will hopefully illustrate some of the ID tips for this species and hopefully help me to fix them better in my head if nothing else!