Viola lutea grows to a height of around 20 centimetres (8 in). Its flowers are 20–35 mm (0.8–1.4 in) in diameter, and are typically yellow, although some individuals may have blue, purple or blotched flowers instead.
Viola lutea subsp. lutea is native to central and north-western Europe, from the British Isles to Austria; another subspecies occurs further east, from Hungary to the Balkans. Within Great Britain, V. lutea is found only in upland areas north of a line drawn between the Severn and Humber estuaries; it ranges in altitude from 200 metres (660 ft) in Derbyshire to 1,070 m (3,500 ft) in Breadalbane. In Ireland, its distribution is more scattered geographically, and ranges vertically from sea level in County Clare to 380 m (1,250 ft) in the Wicklow Mountains.
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- Clive A. Stace (2011). "Viola L. – violets". New Flora of the British Isles (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 332–335. ISBN 978-0-521-70772-5.
- William Hudson (1762). "Viola". Flora Anglica. London: published by the author. pp. 330–332.
- O. E. Balme (1954). "Viola Lutea Huds.". Journal of Ecology. 42 (1): 234–240. JSTOR 2256996.