Tag Archives: Viola reichenbachiana

Little Bo Peep

Little Bo Peep has lost her Sheep and doesn’t know where to find them…..

It’s a good job that I’m here then.

FizzYou search the hedges, I’ll look down the Mole hills.

FizzAny luck yet?

FizzShut up Fizz. She is not going to be down a Mole hill!

She might be.

FizzAnd so it goes on…. we lose our Sheep and then we find them. It is a good job that I have got such a clever tracking dog.

Lost SheepFor anyone who hasn’t seen her in action here is a quick video demonstration of Fizz’s awesome search and retrieve skills.

You just have to have faith, if you are lost then she will find you.

Well it rained all day today and I don’t have much to show you. This is one of my flower posts that I wrote yesterday.

Viola reichenbachiana, The Early Dog Violet

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)There are three little violet flowers called Dog Violets in the UK, they are the Early Dog Violet, The Common Dog Violet and the less common Heath Dog Violet. They can all hybridise and so telling them apart isn’t always easy but they do each have distinctive characteristics.

As it’s name suggests the Early Dog Violet flowers first, about three weeks before the common one. I took this next picture on March 16th and as you can see the flowers were already well established.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)I didn’t see a Common Dog Violet last year until March 30th, so if you see a Dog Violet early in March it is probably this one but you don’t have to guess.

The Dog Violet has a spur behind the flower and with the other two species the spur is lighter than the petals. The Spur on the Early Dog Violet is darker than the petals.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)For comparison this next picture is a Common Dog Violet with a much lighter spur and the Heath Dog Violet is also lighter and quite yellow.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)The other easy to spot difference is with the markings on the lower petal. These lines serve to direct insects to the nectar and they are much less pronounced on the Early Dog Violet.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)Again for comparison this next picture is a Common Dog Violet, The Heath Dog Violet is vividly marked like this too.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)Okay the difference is relative and not always easy to spot if you don’t have another flower to compare with but bright, intense markings would immediately make me look at the spur.

The Early Dog Violet,  Viola reichenbachiana.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)V. reichenbachiana is a bit of a mouthful. It is named after a German Botanist, Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach, who specialised in Orchids. He has actually got about a dozen different flowers named after him but someone must have felt that he needed a Violet.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)Violets have a complicated reproductive strategy that isn’t really relevant to identifying the flower but it still makes for an interesting read. The best explanation that I have found on the web is here.


That article goes some way to explaining why the inside of a violet looks like this.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)Basically the Violet has two different types of flower. The open flowers that we are familiar with are specially designed to achieve cross pollination.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)Violets are hermaphrodite and capable of self fertilisation but the open flowers are carefully designed to avoid that, however the majority of seed produced is self pollinated. To achieve this the Violet produces another sort of flower. These are small flowers that will never open, they are self fertile. They appear as the plant matures and they are actually responsible for most of the seed production.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)The plant seems to go to a lot of trouble to try and cross pollinate when it doesn’t really have to but it is thought that even a small amount of cross pollination benefits the gene pool.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)Early Dog Violet has a long stem bearing a single flower.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)The leaves are heart shaped with finely scalloped edges.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana) Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)   Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)   Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana) It grows in shady woodlands, hedgerows and coppice. It is native to the UK, more common in the South and almost absent from Scotland.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Malpighiales

Family: Violaceae

Genus: Viola

Species: Viola reichenbachiana

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana)Wildflowers in winter.

I am sorry that there wasn’t more to this post today but it was just a very dull day at the office. Tomorrow we are going to resume our Big Game Hunting and maybe film a Troll 🙂

Scruffy Dogs, Early Dogs and Common Dogs

This post is going to be another retrospective because the weather isn’t letting up and it is just too dark or to put it another way…. There are some things about today that I really want to photograph but if I wait for better light I will get much better pictures. I don’t really want to do them badly.

I thought that we could look at some Dogs.

Scruffy DogEarly spring flowers, these haven’t been seen here before because I didn’t start this blog until May. These are Violets, the Early Dog Violet and the Common Dog Violet. Guess which one appears first…

Both Violets are out in March but the Early one edges it.

Early Dog Violet

Early Dog Violet

Early Dog VioletThis next one is a Common Dog Violet.

Common Dog VioletSuperficially they look very similar and for a long time I didn’t realise that I had two different species living side by side. They are both Dog Violets.

The Common one has deeper and more pronounced veining on the lower petals and I think that this makes it the prettier of the two but there is a much quicker and easier way to tell them apart.

Common Dog VioletBoth Violets have a spur at the back of the flower.

The spur of the Early Dog Violet is darker than the flower.

Early Dog Violet

Early Dog VioletThe spur of the Common Dog Violet is paler, almost white.  This is so easy, it is the feature that I always look for.

Common Dog Violet

Common Dog VioletThere is another little violet that pops up here around about the same time and that is the Sweet Violet. It doesn’t really look like the other two and comes in a variety of colours.

Sweet Violet

Sweet Violet

Sweet VioletThe Sweet Violet is so called because it is sweetly scented and the Dog Violets are Dogs because they have no scent. I find that very funny because I have known a few dogs in my life and I have always found them to be warmly scented animals. A scent that I enjoy very much, like a new puppy. It is funny to call something a Dog because it doesn’t smell 🙂 (No offence Fizz)

As for the scruffy one, don’t worry about her, she’s with me.

Scruffy DogBut it is too dark even to take her picture properly.

Canis lupus Familiaris (odorata)I have lot’s of posts that I am eager to write. There is a tree near here that I have long believed to be possessed by demons. Well it turns out that it is not Demons at all but an extraordinary type of fungus. There are also King Alfred’s Cakes growing just outside of my door and I have a need to set fire to them. Yes indeed I have got Cramp Balls. There are lots of things about but I might have to do Daffodils next if the weather doesn’t improve a bit.