Viola betonicifolia: is a member of the Violaceae family and is a close relative of the well-known exotic Violets.
Viola betonicifolia is a small, tufted, Australian plant. The leaves are lanceolate to oblong and up to eight centimetres long.
The flowers are violet-shaped and usually purplish-blue. Some plants have paler flowers. Blooms are carried on stems up to eight centimetres long. There is a flower problem. Sometimes buds do show petals but produce seeds without opening. This characteristic is known as cleistogamy. The seeds produced in this way are viable. We have a number of specimens growing in tubes and for many years they did not produce flowers but plenty of viable seeds. In the spring of 2007 all these Violets flowered. We have no idea what triggered this “conventional” flowering.
Viola betonicifolia is native to Yallaroo and the plants in the wild also flowered in spring 2007.
Viola betonicifolia could be cultivated in rockeries or native cottage gardens. Because the plants are fairly small at least six should be planted close together to make an impact. You should also be aware that there may be long periods when no blooms appear because of their strange flowering pattern.
Viola betonicifolia is widely distributed and occurs in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, New Guinea and South-east Asia. The species may have become naturalised in Japan.
Propagate from seed.