All species and hybrids occurring in Britain and Ireland are given full descriptions. The taxa included comprise 15 species (10 violets; 5 pansies) and 11 hybrids (8 violets; 3 pansies). Each species description includes a detailed list of its characteristics; data, with map, on its distribution; habitat requirements; conservation; NVC communities; associated species; first record in Britain & Ireland. Notes on interesting facts are also given. A section follows on infraspecific taxa and hybrids with details, where applicable, of any varieties. The accepted hybrids are given separate accounts which include tables comparing the main characteristics of the hybrid to those of its parents. Introductory material includes a full key to all the taxa included. This is complimented by an illustrated key to the violet species and, for each similar pairs of both violets and pansies, a list of the key differences between them. Also included are a glossary of botanical terms used and a full bibliography.
"The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland [...] has over the years produced an excellent series of handbooks that each deals with a difficult group of plants [...] Violas takes a new approach in being in full colour with many photographs [...] [a] worthy addition to the series."
– Peter Thomas, BES Bulletin 48(3), September 2017
"The 16 previous BSBI Handbooks have been a varied bunch, united by a simple purpose, that of helping botanists to get to grips with difficult or critical groups of plants. No. 17 has gone one better. Multicoloured wild pansies blaze across the back and front covers, announcing that this is a book to be enjoyed, as well as one to be consulted frequently. There is always a tension between meeting the increasing demands of the serious botanist and opening an otherwise closed door so that a wider group of enthusiasts can walk through. Violas of Britain and Ireland has negotiated this tricky line with skill. [...] This admirable Handbook will bring many new records to light. Most of these, I suspect, will be hybrids. In between will be the ‘head-scratchers’. [...] Violas may not provide all the answers, but it will give you plenty of detailed questions to ask."
– James Robertson, British Wildlife, Volume 28(5), June 2017