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Viola petraea


Scientific Name

Viola petraea W.Becker


Viola caviahuensis, Viola copahuensis, Viola petraea f. albida

Scientific Classification

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


This species is native to Argentina and Chile.


Viola petraea is an attractive perennial plant with semi-succulent leaves that are arranged in a rosette. It belongs to the group of Rosulate Violas. Leaves are green to olive-brown, imbricate, and tightly appressed to each other. Flowers are white to lavender-blue and appear in spring and early summer in a ring around the outer edge of the rosette.

This species is often confused with Viola columnaris and Viola cotyledon.

The specific epithet "petraea" derives from the Latin "petraeus," meaning "rock-loving or growing among rocks" and refers to the species habitat on rocky outcrops.

How to Grow and Care for Viola petraea

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 petraea 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 petraea

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


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