Viola hederacea

Native Violet

Family: Violaceae

Evergreen tufted groundcover, which grows to 10 cm tall but may spread to form a colony several metres wide, spreading by stolons.

Round to kidney-shaped (reniform) leaves, to 3 cm wide, with variable toothing on the margins.

Solitary flowers are white and purple, on stems to 9 cm long, produced above the foliage.

The fruits are capsules and the mature seeds are brown.

In the garden

It grows in a wide range of soils if moisture present. Very sensitive to salinity. Prefers a protected position in semi-shade to full sun. Frost tolerant. Drought tolerant in a favourable growing environment.

Useful as a ground cover or a non-traffic lawn substitute in shady, moist areas.

Useful in hanging baskets. Can be quite attractive if it flowers heavily.

Can become invasive in favourable conditions but it is easy to control if necessary.


From seed or vegetative division.

Other information

True Viola hederacea is infrequently grown in gardens.

Most ornamental cultivars labelled as Viola hederacea are actually Viola banksii, which was until recently, was included within V. hederacea but differs in the more richly coloured flowers with an almost circular anterior petal and almost circular leaves with a deep sinus (V. hederacea has paler flowers with an obovate anterior petal and more or less reniform leaves with a broad sinus). The species was previously a complex which has been separated into separate species.

Grows in fire-prone environments, and likely has the ability to regenerate from stolons.

Viola – from the Greek for violet (violeta, βιολέτα) – referring to the purple colour of the flowers.
hederacea – resembling the Ivy genus, Hedera, – which presumably refers to the leaf appearance.

Not known to be at risk in the wild.


By Jeff Howes