Small clump-forming, usually under 10cm in height, hairy throughout. Leaves ovate-oblong, to triangular-ovate, deeply cordate, crenate, 1.5-5cm or more long at maturity, smaller at flowering time. Flowers blue-violet, about 1.5cm across, occasionally white or streaked pink or violet, spring. Europe to the Caucasus and Siberia, in grassland, scrub and open woods over chalk or limestone. V.h. ssp. calcarea is half sized with somewhat up-folded leaves, and flowers to 1cm across. England, Wales, France, probably elsewhere, often growing with hirta and sometimes with plants of intermediate sizes.