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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Viola lactea - Pale Heath-violet

Range & Status

Native; very local in southern England, Cornwall, south and west Wales and central and southern Ireland. Oceanic Temperate species.

Regional Distribution

Cornwall remains a stronghold for this declining heathland plant, particularly on The Lizard and mid-Cornwall moors. It is still present in 37 1km squares, but was once known from 187 1km squares. There has been a marked loss along the north coast between Godrevy (SW54) and St. Agnes (SW65).

Habitat & Ecology

In coastal and inland lowland heaths, where suitable open habitats exist, sometimes associated with old mine sites. Also along trackways and roadbanks through heathland. Heath and gorse fires which clear away dead and matted vegetation, can be beneficial and sometimes lead to the appearance of thousands of plants.


As it is a poor competitor, it has declined due to the loss of suitable heathland habitats, due to the lack of/or poor management, and also probably from hybridization with Common Dog-violet Viola riviniana .


Appropriate management needed to provide a variety in the structure of heaths with a patchwork of open and disturbed areas, such as by rotational grazing and/or burning. Many of the coastal and some of the inland sites are protected, but few of the mine sites are.

Click here to see Aphotoflora images by David Fenwick


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.

Cornish Biodiversity Network. 2017.