is a stemless plant; both leaf stalks and flower stalks are attached directly to the rootstock. Leaf stalks are two or three times the length of the blades, up to 10 inches. Stalks and lower leaf surfaces may have a fine hair covering; upper surfaces are always hairless. Leaves are lined with very shallow, rounded teeth. Leaf tips are blunt.
The solitary flowers are held above the leaves, on the hairless stalks. Flowers have five petals, all dark purple; two upper, two at the side and one below, this with white/purple venation at its base. The spur of the lower petal is blunt, and rounded, unlike the straight, longer spur of the otherwise similar viola adunca
. The lower three petals are fringed with narrow white hairs at the base. The five sepals are straight-sided, with rounded tips, and have short appendages at the base. The five stamens are tightly clustered, and included within the throat of the corolla.