A new species of Hybanthus (Violaceae) from north-eastern Brazil is described and illustrated. Hybanthus verrucosus Paula-Souza is endemic to ‘caatingas’ of Bahia and Alagoas states and is very distinct from all other Brazilian species of the genus, for its anterior petal, which is covered with small wart-like outgrowths. Other distinctive characteristics of the new species and its relationship with a closely related species (H. atropurpureus (A.St.-Hil.) Taub.) are discussed. © 2003 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2003, 141, 503–506.