Altai Pansy

No garden is complete without an edging or planting of pansies and violas. Altai Pansy (Viola altaica) is one of the parents to the cultivated pansies. Its beautiful marking were so admired by gardeners and botanists in the 19th century that pansy societies were founded to hybridise and improve the species. It is a showy species that flowers from May to July. It is native to Siberia, on the Altaic mountains, Russia, but also to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and China.

Altai pansy Viola altaica Tartarian violet
Altai pansy (Viola altaica), also called Tartarian violet

A hardy perennial, it is propagated by seeds, which it produces freely, or by parting the roots. It will reach a mature height of 6 in (15 cm). Short stems have densely clustered leaves. Solitary flowers, yellow or blue-purple, to 2" diameter in summer. The blossom cannot be said to be fragrant, yet when smelled near, a bitterish, but not unpleasant odor is perceptible.