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Viola atropurpurea


Scientific Name

Viola atropurpurea Leyb.

Scientific Classification

Family: Violaceae
Subfamily: Violoideae
Tribe: Violeae
Genus: Viola


This species is native to Argentina and Chile.


Viola atropurpurea is a perennial plant with semi-succulent, olive-brown to pale blue-green leaves spirally arranged in rosettes and sometimes with reddish margins. It belongs to the group of Rosulate Violas. The rosettes grow up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter, usually solitary or in small groups. Flowers appear from spring to early summer and stand in a ring around the outer edge of the rosette. They are generally blackish-purple with a yellow throat and white hairs, but sometimes paler and veined.

The specific epithet "atropurpurea" derives from the Latin words "atrox," meaning "very or fiercely" and "purpurea," meaning "purple," and refers to the purple color of the flowers.

How to Grow and Care for Viola atropurpurea

Rosulate Violas have a reputation for being difficult to keep alive. Cold conditions, soil that contains adequate amounts of nutrients, and as much light as possible, are essential.

Soil: They grow in relatively bare loose soils, which are often volcanic in origin.

Hardiness: Viola atropurpurea can withstand temperatures as low as 0 to 50 °F (-17.8 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 7a to 11b.

Propagation: Rosulate Violas are grown only from seed and with some patience.

The main problem with these plants is etiolation, caused by a lack of light, which results in elongation of the compact rosettes. It is known that in any bunch of seedlings, some of them will quickly etiolate, while others may not. So there is some scope in selecting Rosulate Violas more likely to grow satisfactorily in cultivation.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Rosulate Violas.

Toxicity of Viola atropurpurea

Violas are nontoxic for humans and pets. Both the flowers and leaves are edible fresh, cooked, or dried.


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