1. Family: Violaceae Batsch
    1. Genus: Viola L.
      1. Viola cornuta L.

        Viola cornuta is one of a group of species known as pansies (Viola section Melanium). Pansies differ from violets in that pansy flowers have four petals pointing upwards and only one directed downwards. The common name pansy is derived from the French pensée (meaning thought). Viola cornuta flowers have a characteristic long, thin, upward pointing nectar spur (which is from where the term 'horned' comes).

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    A popular bedding plant with a light fragrance, horned pansy is native to the Pyrenees.

    Viola cornuta is one of a group of species known as pansies (Viola section Melanium). Pansies differ from violets in that pansy flowers have four petals pointing upwards and only one directed downwards. The common name pansy is derived from the French pensée (meaning thought). Viola cornuta flowers have a characteristic long, thin, upward pointing nectar spur (which is from where the term 'horned' comes).

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    Horned pansy is native to Spain and France, where it occurs in the high Pyrenees. It is widely planted and naturalised from garden escapes elsewhere (although naturalised plants can be hybrids).

    Description

    Overview:   Viola cornuta is a spreading, evergreen perennial (living for several years) growing up to 30 cm tall.

    Leaves:  The leaves, often present in a basal rosette, are narrowly to broadly egg-shaped. The stipules (leaf-like appendages on the stem where a leaf attaches) are large, free and deeply divided.

    Flowers: The flowers are produced one to a stem and bloom from June to August. They are pollinated while they are open (unlike many other Viola species, which are self-fertilised without the flowers opening). There are five green sepals. The lightly fragrant flowers are violet in colour, up to 4 cm in diameter and have a long, slender spur. The flowers have five stamens (male parts), each with a triangular projection at the tip.

    Fruits: The fruit is an explosive capsule opening by three valves. Seeds often have an oil body and are dispersed by ants.

    Uses

    Horned pansy is widely cultivated as an ornamental. More than 25 cultivars (cultivated varieties of the species Viola cornuta ) and hybrids (crosses between species) are available, which exhibit a range of characteristics, with flower colours in shades from white through to yellow and violet. Many cultivars have been created in part from crosses with V. × wittrockiana .

    Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

    The seed storage behaviour of Viola cornuta is orthodox (meaning the seeds will survive the drying and freezing process), although there are no collections currently stored in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank based at Wakehurst in West Sussex.

    This species at Kew

    Horned pansy can be seen growing in the Rock Garden and the garden behind Kew Palace.

    Pressed and dried specimens of Viola cornuta are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers from around the world, by appointment. The details of herbarium specimens of many other species of Viola , including some images, can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

    Kew's Olympic floral spectacular

    From April to September 2012 a floral spectacular will be in bloom in front of the Orangery at Kew Gardens to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games. This enormous representation of the Olympic rings can even be admired by air passengers flying over the Gardens.

    Cultivars of  Viola cornuta  make up the majority of the spring bedding for this 50 m display, which includes  Viola 'Light Blue',  Viola 'Clear Yellow',  Viola 'Black Delight',  Viola 'Red Blotch' and apple mint ( Mentha suaveolens ).

    The five interlacing rings, designed in 1913 by founder of the modern Olympic Games Baron Pierre de Coubertin, represent the coming together of five continents to embrace the Olympic values: striving for excellence, demonstrating respect and celebrating friendship.

    Distribution
    France, Spain
    Ecology
    Montane pastures (often associated with cattle).
    Conservation
    Not considered to be threatened.
    Hazards

    None known.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    France, Spain

    Introduced into:

    Austria, Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, Italy, Romania, Switzerland, Yugoslavia

    Common Names

    English
    Horned pansy

    Viola cornuta L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Cope, T.A. [RBG 527], Great Britain K000914124

    First published in Sp. Pl. ed. 2: 1325 (1763)

    Accepted by

    • Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1968). Flora Europaea 2: 1-469. Cambridge University Press.

    Literature

    Kew Species Profiles
    • Mabberley, D. J. (2008). Mabberley’s Plant-book: a Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classification and Uses. 3rd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    • Saule, M. (2002). La Grande Flore Illustrée des Pyrénées. Rando/Milan.
    • Cullen, J. et al. (eds) (1997). The European Garden Flora Volume 5. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    • Huxley, A., Griffiths, M. & Levy, M. (eds) (1997). The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening, Volume 4 (R-Z). Macmillan, London.
    • Fuller, R. (1990). Pansies, Violas and Violettas: the Complete Guide. The Crowood Press Ltd, Wiltshire.
    • Tutin, T. G. et al. (eds) (1968). Flora Europaea Volume 2. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1968). Flora Europaea 2: 1-469. Cambridge University Press.

    Sources

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0