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Viola hederacea

Viola hederacea is a species of violet which is native to Australia. It is common and widespread in Victoria and Tasmania, along the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales north at least to the Barrington Tops area, in the far south-east of South Australia, and in a small area of the Adelaide Hills between Belair and Mount Lofty.

The flowers are usually rather pale and washed-out looking, the anterior petal (the one at the bottom of the flower when looking face on) is widest towards its apex, and the mature seeds are brown. Well-developed leaves of Viola hederacea are also distinctive – semicircular in outline, about as broad as long, and usually rather dark green above and paler beneath.

True Viola hederacea is infrequently grown in gardens. It is a less spectacular plant than the cultivated species (Viola banksii), with a more open, less robust habit and less striking flowers. Nevertheless, it’s easy to cultivate.

The commonly cultivated species, V. banksii, was previously included within V. hederacea but differs in the more richly coloured flowers with an almost circular anterior petal and almost circular leaves with a deep sinus (V. hederacea has paler flowers with an obovate anterior petal and more or less reniform leaves with a broad sinus).

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