Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Viola pedata

Birdfoot violet, Bird's-foot violet, Bird-foot violet

Violaceae (Violet Family)

Viola pedata (Birdfoot violet)
Cressler, Alan
Bird-foot violet is a low, clumped perennial, 4-10 in. high, with large, almost pansy-sized flowers. The leaves, almost round in outline, are 3/42 inches long, deeply cut into 35 segments, and these again narrowly lobed. The leaf stem is 46 inches long. Flowers are pale to dark purple, broad, flat, 11 1/2 inches across. They have 5 petals, the 2 upper ones smaller than the lower 3 and deep violet. The lowest petal has the dark streakings which are common to most violets. There are 5 stamens with brilliant orange anthers.

A most beautiful Violet of dry, upland sites. Its showy, light violet-blue flowers, distinctive birds-foot-shaped leaves make it easy to identify. It is pollinated by bees and butterflies. The bicolored form of this species, with its 2 upper petals a deep violet and the lower 3 a lilac shade, has been considered the most beautiful Violet in the world. This violet does not reproduce vegetatively like most other violets. Reproduction is by seed only.

Image Gallery:

22 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit: Green
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: NB , ON
Native Distribution: MA to MN, s. to GA & e. TX
Native Habitat: Rocky, open woods; sandy prairies & pinelands

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Dry, rocky, or sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: This plant is particularly susceptible to crown rot if drainage is not excellent.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Viola pedata is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Regal Fritillary
(Speyeria idalia)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2014-06-26