Growing to a height of about 15cm, this pretty little plant quite closely resembles Viola riviniana or Common Dog-violet. The main difference is the spur. In this species the spur at the back of the flower is darker than the petals and it does not have a notch. The delicate flowers (12-20mm across) are violet in colour; they have 2 narrow upper petals, a dark-veined throat and their spurs are straight. The sepals have short appendages. The flowers are solitary on almost hairless stems. The leaves are heart-shaped with toothed margins and are on long stalks. The stipules are fringed and are narrower than those of Common Dog-violet. Early Dog-violet grows in woods, hedgerows and shady places. It is a native perennial, scattered throughout Ireland except in West Munster. It flowers from March to May and belongs to the Violaceae or Violet family.
I first saw and photographed this little flower in Foulkesmill, Co Wexford in May 2013, thanks to a suggestion, as to where I might see it, from Paul Green, BSBI Vice-county Recorder for Counties Waterford and Wexford.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre