The Sweet Violets are adding a splash of colour low to the ground around the visitors centre car park and gardens at the moment and are providing a valuable nectar source for some of the early bees.

Smelling the actual scent of these is quite a tricky thing as not only do you have to lay on your belly to get close enough but amazingly they release a chemical called Ionone that temporarily desensitises our sense of smell - so we often don’t smell them!

They are recognised from other violets by the shape of their rounded sepals behind the flower whilst Dog violets have pointed ones. Also their leaves are more rounded and flowers are a different colour, although Sweet violets can be deep purple, lilac & white; Dog violets are always the lighter purple.

Many thanks to Enid Barrie for all the olfactory information!

Anonymous