Langsporniges Stiefmütterchen

Viola calcarata L.

The pansy has always been a popular garden plant. Many of the lovingly nurtured garden species are hybrids of three pansy species, including the Long-spurred Pansy. The hybrids often have larger flowers and come in different colours. Nevertheless, the Long-spurred Pansy is in no way inferior to its showier relatives.  

The Long-spurred Pansy grows to a height of between 5 and 8 cm. As with most members of the violet family (Violaceae), the flowers of the Long-spurred Pansy have five petals and the lowest is elongated to form a spur. In contrast to the pansy species that grow in the lowlands, which are often pollinated by bees, the Long-spurred Pansy is mainly pollinated by butterflies. 

Facts and Figures

The German genus name translates as “little stepmother”, which provides a story behind the appearance of the flower: the broadest lowest petal, the “stepmother”, partly covers the lateral “daughters”, and these in turn cover the two uppermost “stepdaughters”.  


If you want to find the Long-spurred Pansy, you need to search areas of calcareous rock in the Alps. The distribution in Switzerland also accounts for 60% of the total global distribution area, which means Switzerland has to play a key role in protecting this species. Naturally, there are large populations of this species in the Alpine Garden.   more information

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