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Viola chamaedrys


Scientific Name

Viola chamaedrys Leybold

Scientific Classification

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


This species is native to central Chile.


Viola chamaedrys is a small, stemless annual or short-lived perennial that forms rosettes of semi-succulent, strongly crenate leaves. It belongs to the group of Rosulate Violas. Leaves are gray-green to purplish-brown with hairy edges. They change their color to blend in with their backgrounds. Flowers are white to pink with violet lines and yellow throat. They appear from spring to early summer.

The specific epithet "chamaedrys" derives from the Greek words "chamai," meaning "on the ground or dwarf" and "drys," meaning "oak," and refers to the leaf shape and low-growing habit.

Viola chamaedrys

Photo by John Watson

How to Grow and Care for Viola chamaedrys

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 chamaedrys 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 chamaedrys

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


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