Purple Leaved Common Dog Violet 'Purpurea Group'

Viola riviniana

Family: Violaceae (vy-oh-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Viola (vy-OH-la) (Info)
Species: riviniana (riv-in-ee-AH-nuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Purpurea Group
Synonym:Viola labradorica var. purpurea


Alpines and Rock Gardens

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade


Grown for foliage




Foliage Color:



6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone



Bloom Color:

Medium Purple

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Richmond, California

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Cincinnati, Ohio

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

University Place, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 23, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Viola riviniana Purpurea Group is a European species widely sold in the US under the misleading name of Viola labradorica.

The true Viola labradorica, native to North America, does not appear to be currently in cultivation.

The two names are not synonyms, but different species.

I find that the purple-tinted foliage is its chief ornamental asset. Greater light and cooler temperatures bring out the purple tones, and the leaves are greener in more shade and heat.

I find that the flowers are small and stingily produced, and their season is brief. They have no fragrance.

This isn't a plant for the tidy gardener. It won't form a neat edging to a bed, nor has it ever grown into a weed-suppressive groundcover for me.
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On May 8, 2010, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

Thanks Baa!
I purchased this grossly misnamed and finally had it ID'd as
Viola labradorica.
This led to finding the true ID here.

I've seen it in full bloom and pictures do not in any way do it justice.
Much more an eye catcher than most Violas.
The burgundy leaves set off the blooms perfectly.

Neutral as I just purchased it, but parent clump appears to be doing quite well here in SW OH.


On Aug 30, 2001, Baa wrote:

Viola labradorica var. Purpurea of Gardens often still sold as this. The true Labrador Violet (V. labradorica) is hard to find and a native of Canada and North USA.

Almost hairless perennial with small, heart shaped, burgandy coloured leaves. Bears small blue/violet coloured flowers with a purple spur in March to May and often July through to September. This is a varient of the European native Common Dog Violet.

Self seeds everywhere and may even become invasive over time but great for a wood/wild flower garden.