National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Violet (Common Dog)

Violet (Common Dog)

Viola riviniana, family Violaceae
April to October

'Beauty is no quality in things themselves: it exists merely in the mind which contemplates them'.

The words of David Hume (1711-1776) the Scottish philosopher and historian born in Edinburgh.

The natural world was a constant source of inspiration to Hume providing the basis for much of his thinking and arguments. Although Hume resided in Edinburgh he regularly spent long periods of time at the family home, Nine Wells near Chirnside in Berwickshire, where he enjoyed walking in the garden and the surrounding natural woodlands which were dotted with this tiny spring flowering native violet which would have been familiar to him

Violets are surrounded in mythology and popular belief, in some parts of Britain they are seen as the flowers of the dead and it was thought that to pick them with dew drops on would result in the death of a loved one. They are also associated with love. Other beliefs associate them with openness and innocence.

Dog violet. Image credit: bugcatcherbun, Flicker. Public Domain
Dog violet. Image credit: Atle Grimsby, Flicker. CC license