Keys from Flora of Bhutan (with habitat and flowering):
The following doubtful species have also been recorded from E Himalaya: V. cameleo Boissieu, V. placida Becker, V. sikkimensis Becker and V. thomsonii Oudemans. These require further study and are not treated here.
1. Leaves attenuate or rounded and scarcely cordate at base …….. 2
+ Leaves distinctly cordate at base (bases sometimes scarcely cordate in V. beronicifolia but then leaves twice as long as broad) ………… 3
2. Annual or slender perennial, sometimes shortly stoloniferous; leaves 1 – 2cm broad, pubescent ……. l. V. diffusa (Warm broad-leaved forest slopes, 915 – 2100m. February – April.)
+ Perennial with branching rootstock, not stoloniferous; leaves 4 – 8mm broad. …. 2. V. kunawarensis (Alpine slopes, 4880 – 5200m. June – July)
3. Petals predominantly yellow ……….. 4
+ Petals predominantly white, bluish or mauve …….. 5
4. Petals with brownish purple reticulation outside; spur saccate, c 2mm, rounded 3. V. biflora (In damp, shaded Fir forest margins, 2285 — 3350m. June — September)
+ Petals pure yellow outside; spur slender, acute, 4 – 5mm…..4.V. wallichiana (Forest margins, 2740 — 3350m. June — July)
5. Rootstock with an ovoid scaly bulb ……… 5. V. bulbosa (Damp slopes amongst scrub, 2400 — 3900m. April — May)
+ Rootstock without a bulb …………………….. 6
6. Leaves narrowly oblong-ovate, usually more than twice as long as broad. lamina distinctly decurrent on petiole ……… 6. V. betonicifolia (River banks and damp ground, 2370 — 2500m. May – June)
+ Leaves broadly ovate or suborbicular, as long as broad or sometimes l.5(—2) times as long, lamina not or scarcely decurrent on petiole ………. 7
7. Plants not stoloniferous ………..8
+ Plants stoloniferous ……..9                   
8. Leaves 1 -5 x0.5-3.5cm, obtuse or acute, pubescent (hairs c0.9mm); lateral petals pubescent within ……… 7. V. bhutanica (Damp wooded banks, 2450 — 3500m. April —June)
+ Leaves 2-9×2-7cm, abruptly acuminate, sparsely pubescent (hairs c0.5mm); lateral petals glabrous within ………… 8. V. paravaginata (Amongst bamboo, 3300 — 3350m. May)
9. Leaves broadly ovate or suborbicular,obtuse or subacute, margins broadly and shallowly crenate, usually completely glabrous; sepal appendages rounded ….. 9. V. hookeri (Moist ground in forest shade. 2285 — 3000m. April — June)
+ Leaves ovate, acute or acuminate, margins crenate-serrate, usually at least sparsely pubescent; sepal appendages acute …….. 10
10. Petioles +/- densely retrorse-pubescent; sepal appendages c l mm …….. 10. V. pilosa (Moist ground around forests and margins of cultivation, 1400 — 3500m. February — May)
+ Petioles glabrous or sparsely pubescent; sepal appendages c 3mm …..… 11. V. hamiltoniana (Banks in warm broad-leaved forests, 1170—2540m. February—May)




Viola cinerea var. stocksii (Boiss.) Beck. (Afghanistan (Paktia / Khost), Saudi Arabia, Oman, Somalia, Sudan, Socotra, Egypt (SE-Egypt), Iran (EC-Iran), India (Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat), Pakistan (Baluchistan, Karachi, Sind, Waziristan, Kurram, N.W.Frontier Prov., Pakistani Punjab), Pakistani Kashmir (Mirpur) as per CoL)


Viola diffusa Ging.


Viola elatior Fries (Europe to Xinjiang and W. Himalaya: Altay, Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Central European Rus, Czechoslovakia, East European Russia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Krym, North Caucasus, Northwest European R, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, South European Russi, Sweden, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Transcaucasus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, West Himalaya, West Siberia, Xinjiang, Yugoslavia as per POWO)

Viola hamiltoniana D. Don




Viola wallichiana Ging. (C-Nepal to Bhutan, India (West Bengal), Sikkim, Tibet as per Catalogue of Life) (The long narrow spur distinguishes it from Viola biflora)


Keys and distribution  in Flora of India Vol-2 by BSI the account of Violaceae is written by S.P.Banerjee and B.B.Pramanik.
In this account authors have given generic description, key to species, keys to sub species/ varieties/ forma (as the case may be), description of species, flowering and fruiting time, and distribution in India. This document (Banerjee and Pramanik, 1993) have mentioned presence of following 34 wild species in India-
1- Viola betonicifolia (subsp. betonicifolia (India: Usually in grasslands, river banks and damp grounds, 1400 – 2800 m. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipurt Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala; Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Malaysia to Australia); subsp. jaunsarensis ( India: Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh; Pakistan and Afghanistan), line diagram given),
2- V.biflora (India: Alpine rocky grasslands and in damp Fir forest margins, 2500 – 3500 m. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh; Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Eastern &. Northern Asia, Russia, Europe and N. America),
3- V.bulbosa subsp. tuberifera (India; Temperate Himalayas, damp slopes amongst scrubs, 2000 – 4000 m. Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim; Nepal, Bhutan and S.W. China),
4- V.cameleo (India: Sikkim (Lachen); China),
5- V.canescens (India: Temperate Himalayas, 1500 – 2000 m. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tamil Nadu; Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and East Asia),
6- V.cinerea var. stocksii (India: Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat; Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran)
7- V.diffusa, (India: Montane warm forests and grasslands, 1300 – 2500 m. West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Meghalaya; Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Indo-china, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines and New Guinea)
8- V.fedtschenkoana (var. fedtschenkoana (India: Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh; Pakistan and Central Asia) and var. muzaffarabadensis (India: Jammu & Kashmir)),
9- V.glaucescens, (India: West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram; Nepal, Bhutan and Malaysia)
10- V.hamiltoniana, (India: Edges of forests in grasslands and roadsides, 1000 – 2500 m. Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Kamataka and Tamil Nadu; Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Malaysia and Philippines)
11- V.hediniana, (India: Arunachal Pradesh; China)
12- V.hookeri, (India: Moist places in shaded places of forests, 2000 – 3000 m. West Bengal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh; Nepal, Bhutan and China)
13- V.hossei, (India: Meghalaya; Myanmar, S.W. China, Thailand and Malaysia)
14- V.inconspicua, (India: Subtropical to temperate Himalayas, 500 – 2500 m. Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Meghalaya; Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, S.W. China)
15- V.indica (forma barbata, (India: Himachal Pradesh) and forma indica (India: Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya; Pakistan and Afghanistan)),
16- V.jangiensis, (India: Himachal Pradesh)
17- V.jordanii var. falconeri, (India: Jammu & Kashmir)
18- V.kunawarensis, (India: Alpine slopes, 4500 – 5200 m. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim; Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and China (Tibet))
19- V.macroceros, (India: Uttar Pradesh; Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Russia and Europe)
20- V.moupinensis, (India: Arunachal Pradesh; Myanmar and China)
21- V.odorata, (India: Jammu & Kashmir, often cultivated elsewhere, particularly in West Bengal, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu; N.W. Asia, Europe and N. Africa)
22- V.paravaginata, (India: Temperate E. Himalayas, often amongst bamboos, 2000 – 3500 m. West Bengal and Sikkim; Nepal and Bhutan)
23- V.philippica, (India: Grasslands, 300 – 1800 m. Uttar Pradesh and Manipur; Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, China and Eastern Asia)
24- V.pilosa, (India: Moist places around forests and margins of culivation, in grasslands and alpine meadows, 1500 – 3500 m. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala; Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Thailand and Indonesia (Sumatra and Java))
25- V.placida, (India: Sikkim)
26- V.pogonantha, (India: Arunachal Pradesh)
27- V.reichenbachiana, (India: Jammu & Kashmir; Central Asia, Europe and N.W. Africa)
28- V.rupestris (var. himalayensis, (India: Jammu & Kashmir) var. rupestris (India: Jammu & Kashmir; Asia, Europe and America)),
29- V.sikkimensis (line diagram given), (India: Grasslands and pine forests, 1200 – 3000 m. West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya; China and Indonesia)
30- V.suavis, (India: Jammu & Kashmir; C. & W. Asia and Europe)
31- V.sylvatica, (India: Jammu & Kashmir; Central Asia and Europe)
32- V.thomsonii, (India: West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur; Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar)
33- V.tricolor (Cultivated in India as an ornamental plant with a number of horticultural varieties, rarely as an escape from cultivation)
34- V.wallichiana, (India: Temperate E. Himalayas, along margins of forests, 2000 – 3300 m. West Bengal and Sikkim.; Nepal and Bhutan)
35- V.yunnanensis (India: Arunachal Pradesh (BM) and Nagaland; Myanmar and China)

Viola tricolor is also added in this list by the authors (Banerjee and Pramanik,1993) with the remark that it is cultivated and rarely occur as escape from cultivation.Almost similar information is also available in the FASCICLE OF FLORA OF INDIA, FASCICLE-12 VIOLACEAE written by S.P.Banerjee and B.B.Pramanik and published by Botanical Survey of India, Howrah in 1983. 

No Viola seems threatened in India as no species is mentioned in Red Data Book of Indian Plants by Nayar and Sastry (1987-90).

Binomial Habit Notes Ref. Distrib.
Viola arcuata Blume Herb Western Ghats,
Evergreen Forests
Flora of Tamil
Nadu, VOL. I, 1983
Viola betonicifolia J. E. Smith subsp. betonicifolia  Small
Ghats & Eastern Ghats, Moist Deciduous to Evergreen Forests, Exposed
Moist Localities
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. I, 1983
Dindigul, Nilgiri, Salem
Viola canescens Wall. ex Roxb. Herb Western
Ghats, Evergreen Forests
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. I, 1983
Viola hamiltoniana D. Don Herb Western
Ghats, Evergreen Forests
Viola pilosa Blume Small
Ghats & Eastern Ghats, Evergreen Forests, Marsh Localities
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. I, 1983; Matthew, 1983
Dindigul, Nilgiri, Salem, Theni, Tirunelveli
Viola x wittrockiana Gams Herb Western
Ghats & Eastern Ghats, Cultivated, Native of Eurasia
Nilgiri, Salem

Botanical name Synonyms Family Common name
Viola betonicifolia Violaceae Arrowhead Violet
Viola biflora Violaceae Yellow Wood Violet
Viola canescens Viola serpens var. canescens Violaceae Himalayan White Violet
Viola indica Viola serpens, Viola pogonantha Violaceae Indian Violet
Viola kunawurensis Viola thianschanica Violaceae Kinnaur Violet
Viola pilosa Viola serpens, Viola pogonantha Violaceae Smooth-Leaf White Violet
Viola spp. Violaceae Violet
Viola x wittrockiana Violaceae Pansy



Floriculture in India By Gurcharan Singh Randhawa, Amitabha Mukhopadhyay (1986)- Brief details-


1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants edited by Kerry Scott Walter, Harriet J. Gillett-
Viola himalayensis W.Becker- I- J & K
Viola kunawarensis– I- NW Himalayas

Viola : 3 posts by 2 authors.

I have updated eFI (efloraofindia) page on Viola

Attempts have been made to incorporate most of the species available in India & nearby areas with details & keys directly or through links as far as possible. It’s quite possible that there may be some discrepancy in the accepted names & synonyms taken from other links.

Species discussed so far in efloraofindia are given at the bottom of the page in the form of links against Subpagses. On clicking them one can see all the details.

If someone can provide complete list of Indian species with source references it will be wonderful.

Any comments/ corrections are welcome

I have added the complete list of Viola species occurring in India, with reference.


Pl. go throughViola ‎‎(Violaceae) page with images of species in efloraofindia.

I request you to pl. go through & point out mistakes, if any. I hope this will aid in identifications in future. If anybody can send images of other species of this genera (for incorporation in the website), if any, or can identify unidentified images, it will be really nice.

Some photos under Viola canescens do not show up. The links are broken perhaps.
I was hoping for a discussion on this species too as there is some possibility that this might be V. pilosa (at least if we follow the Flora of China). If we rely entirely on Flora of Pakistan, then our id seems to be correct.
I have additional images which I can send for more scrutiny.

Thanks, …, Some photos may not be able to load up sometimes.
You are most welcome to pl. post further photos for further scrutiny.