Viola umphangensis S. Nansai, Srisanga & Suwanph., a new species of Viola (Violaceae), was discovered by our master student Sulisa Nansai under the supervision of Dr.Prachya Srisanga (Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, Thailand), Prof. Dr. Trevor R. Hodkinson (Trinity College Dublin (TCD), The University of Dublin, Ireland), and Associate Professor Dr.Chalermpol Suwanpakdee (Botany – Kasetsart U.). This is part of the her thesis “Taxonomic Revision of Viola in Thailand” which received the funding from Graduate School of Kasetsart University. Her team found this plant in 2018 and, after careful examination of the specimens, published the new name and its description in the Nordic Journal of Botany in 2020.
The species was first discovered in a bamboo-Quercus forest of Doi Hua Mod, Umphang District in Tak Province. This mountain is unique for being a series of limestone mountains of moderate height with no canopy cover. The vegetation consists of mostly short trees, grasses, and other xerophytes, scattering throughout the areas. The epithet “umphangensis” refers to its origin in Umphang District in Tak Province. It is a perennial herb, 7-12 cm tall, without stolon. It has white flowers with the purple streaks in the middle, which makes it suitable for developing into ornamental plants, just like pansy or other viola species in the temperate area. These plants also have potentials for phytochemical studies, as the extracts from many other species in Viola, such as V. tricolor, V. odorata, V. maculata, has medicinal properties.