17. Viola odorata Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 934. 1753.
香堇菜 xiang jin cai
Herbs perennial, acaulescent, stoloniferous, 3-15 cm tall. Rhizome erect or oblique, brownish, robust, densely noded, with numerous roots and slender, long stolons produced from nodes. Leaves basal; leaf blade orbicular or reniform to broadly ovate-cordate, smaller at anthesis, 1.5-2.5 × 1.5-2.5 cm, gradually accrescent, to 4.5 × 4.5 cm, both surfaces sparsely puberulous or subglabrous, base deeply cordate, margin crenate, apex rounded or ± acute. Flowers deep purple, large, fragrant; pedicels long, slender, puberulous or subglabrous, 2-bracteolate at or above middle. Sepals oblong or oblong-ovate, base obtuse or shallowly dentate, apex obtuse, basal auricles 2-3 mm. Petals crenate, upper ones obovate, lateral ones inside shortly bearded, anterior one broadly obovate, 1.5-2 cm (spur included); spur 2-4 mm, straight or slightly curved; spurs of 2 anterior stamens robust, ca. 4 mm. Ovary puberulous; styles slender and straight at base, thickened upward and slightly compressed, apically curved and with a hooked beak about as long as diameter of styles, with a smaller stigma hole at tip of beak. Capsule globose, densely puberulous. Fl. Apr-May, fr. Jun-Sep. 2n = 20, 60.
Cultivated in large cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Tianjin. Guangdong, Hebei, Shaanxi, Zhejiang [native to N Africa, C and SW Asia, and Europe].