The Fen Violet - Viola persicifolia

Text  © Mike Hardman, 1998, photographs © Mike Hardman, 1997

My great thanks to Jane Croft of the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology for enabling me to see and photograph this species, which is exceedingly rare in England, but occurs very locally at Wicken Fen and Woodwalton Fen, Cambridgeshire.  It does, however, have a stronger presence in the west of Ireland, and in continental Europe.  In Europe it has several close relatives: Vv. pumila, elatior and jordani, for instance, while in England it is sometimes accompanied by V. canina ssp. montana, which also shares several characteristics with it.  In Ireland it is called the turlough violet, after the ephemeral ponds which are its favourite haunts.  It usually has lovely delicate blue flowers, but sometimes (as in one picture here) they are almost white.  The blue is a very difficult colour to capture accurately on film, having a strong tendency to show a pink cast; but these photographs have been corrected in that respect. (Actually, one could argue that it is our eyes which are at fault - for not being sensitive to the near infra-red part of the spectrum which the film manages to record.)

This little collection of photos, taken on 22nd May 1997, is displayed primarily for Jane. And Kim, whom I never see enough of:  I hope you can see the laterals' beards OK in the first photo.

You will see more details in these photographs if you save and view them in an image viewer of one sort or another.
flower frontal
pale flower from the side
flower bud, shoot, and shrivelling flower
chasmo seedpod
whole plant plus one flower