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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Viola pedata L.
Birdfoot violet, Bird's-foot violet, Bird-foot violet
Synonym(s): Viola pedata var. concolor, Viola pedata var. lineariloba, Viola pedata var. ranunculifolia
USDA Symbol: VIPE
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
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 3/4–2 inches long, deeply cut into 3–5 segments, and these again narrowly lobed. The leaf stem is 4–6 inches long. Flowers are pale to dark purple, broad, flat, 1–1 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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Fruit:
Green Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
, WV Canada: NB
, ON Native Distribution: MA
s. to GA
& e. TX Native Habitat:
Rocky, open woods; sandy prairies & pinelands
Growing ConditionsLight 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.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
PropagationDescription: May be propagated by root cuttings taken in early spring or by seed. Seed can be planted immediately after collection or in the spring. Rootstock cuttings should be made lengthwise making sure each section has well-developed buds and roots.
Seed Collection: Collect in the brief time after the seed turns from white to brown and before the capsules explode (usually mid-Jun). Store dried seed in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Cold-moist stratification for 10 days.
Commercially Avail: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Small perennials & grasses for a naturalized lawn
October 26, 2009
I am looking for native perennials and grasses that will grow no more than 8 inches tall that can be used in a naturalized lawn in Michigan. What 5 plants would be your first choice?
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Delaware Nature Society
- Hockessin, DEMt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2009-03-19
Research By: TWC Staff