Viola sieberiana

Family: Violaceae

A short perennial herb spreading by stolons, forming clusters.

In NSW, it has a mostly coastal and tablelands distribution (close to the boundaries); found mainly around Sydney and the Blue Mountains. There are disjunct occurrences west of Ulladulla-Milton, Moruya and down near the Victorian border, as well as the Southern Highlands and much further north – west of Grafton. It occurs heavily around Adelaide and further south to Kangaroo Island, as well as Mt Gambier in South Australia. It also occurs in western Victoria.

It is typically found in moist heath and shrubland as well as moist sclerophyll woodland, often on exposed sandstone outcrop and other rocky substrates.

Viola spp. have simple and alternate leaves, usually with stipules present. In this species, leaves are tufted, to 2 cm long, and to 3 cm wide, broadly oval to kite-shaped (rhombic to ovate) to spathulate, tapering into the leaf stalk (petiole) to 3 cm long with margins coarsely toothed, mid to dark green.

Viola spp. typically produce solitary flowers with 5 sepals and 5 petals with a zygomophic shape (can only be equally folded one way), with 4 more-or-less even petals and a larger anterior petal, arranged almost in a rotate shape. In this species, flowers are solitary on stalks to 8 cm tall, with flowers about 15 mm across, pale mauve to white, in spring and summer.

The fruit is a capsule. In this species, it is to 5 mm long.

In the garden

This is reportedly an easy plant to grow but is not often cultivated. It is adaptable to different soil types as long as it gets sufficient moisture and at least half shade or more in a garden situation.

It is best grown on a well-drained soil or close to rock features. Useful for rockeries and moist areas with shallow soil.

It can also be grown in pots.


Easy from seed or by division of established plants. Provided the divided clumps have a few roots, they will quickly establish in other parts of the garden or in pots if keep watered.

Other information

This species resembles V. hederacea, but has more or less diamond-shaped leaves and smaller, one-coloured flowers.

Hybrids between Viola hederacea and Viola sieberiana are known to occur.

Grows in fire-prone environments and appears to have the ability to regenerate from stolons as well as the seed bank.

Viola is a large world-wide genus of about 450 species. Australia has 16 species including some weeds. NSW currently has 15 recognised species (12 native and 3 exotic with some informal native species).

Viola – from the Greek for violet (violeta, βιολέτα) – referring to the purple colour of the flowers.

sieberiana – after F.W.Sieber (1789-1844) an early nineteenth-century Czech botanist. He collected plants in Sydney over 6 months in 1823, as well as many other places world-wide. He has many plants named after him and also published many Australian species.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Viola sieberiana profile page:

Plants of South Eastern New South Wales – Viola sieberiana profile page

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.