This very attractive and familiar plant is one of three native species of pansies. Pansies differ from other Violas in having flatter flowers which are longer than they are wide.
Field pansy is a common and very variable plant and can have flowers the same size as wild pansy but they are usually much paler and the whole plant is much larger an straggly. If in doubt look at the ratio of petal to sepal length. In wild pansy the petals are longer than the sepals, in field pansy it is the other way around. In upland areas wild pansy could be mistaken for the even showier mountain pansy but the latter is a creeping perennial with multiple stems and more rounded leaves.
Flowers from April to September.
The dune subspecies (curtisii) of wild pansy is often a perennial but our plant is an annual and is found in acidic grassland and heaths, arable land on light soils and other sandy places. If it is to persist it requires and short, open sward created either by environmental constrains such as drought or through disturbance.
Easy to grow from seed sown at any time of the year.