Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bird's Foot Violet, Crow Foot Violet
Viola pedata

Family: Violaceae (vy-oh-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Viola (vy-OH-la) (Info)
Species: pedata (ped-AH-tuh) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

19 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

under 6 in. (15 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Light Blue

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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to view:

By samkar
Thumbnail #1 of Viola pedata by samkar

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By creekwalker
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By creekwalker
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There are a total of 17 photos.
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7 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative coriaceous On Feb 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Another shrinking violet, here.

This is a gorgeous plant I've often admired on the roadsides---I even stopped once on the Massachusetts Turnpike to investigate a purple patch on the verge---But I've never succeeded with this in the garden.

In the wild, I see this on barren, sandy cuts in full sun, with little competition from other plants nearby. I've also seen it in mostly shade. It's often said to need exquisite drainage. So if I ever make a rock garden, this will be a candidate. But in the border, I suspect it's quickly crowded out by its neighbors.

Positive kattykorn On Apr 29, 2013, kattykorn from Cleveland, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

On the bank of the roadside ditch across from my house there is a huge, thick, swath of these little devils. The growing conditions there match all I read about them. Dry, poor soil, well drained. But everything I read said they need full sun, except here at DG where it says full sun or part shade. These get very little sun, perhaps 3 hours in the late afternoon. It is a west facing bank that is shaded by hardwoods most of the day. Yet they are thriving and multiplying.

I'm going to attempt to transplant a few of them onto my property. I'll report back on my success or failure.

Positive ericabelle On Apr 11, 2009, ericabelle from West Plains, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:

Love this violet! It does well here in the Ozarks, since we have clay soil, but lots (and LOTS) of rocks for good drainage. I discovered one last year in the woods, and transplanted it to my 'woodland garden' bed. Thinking it was like other violets, I planted it in the shade. It has done beautifully, probably due to the reflection of a lot of light from our light-colored house. Last week we were at Greers Ferry Lake in Arkansas, and the bird's foot violets were everywhere beside the road. Not only were there light lavendar ones and bicolor ones, but there was also a dark purple variety with a white eye. I dug up a few to plant in my bed. These violets are especially great because of their beautiful foliage, which is evergreen here. I find myself reaching down to "fluff" the foliage every time I visit the flower bed - it is so cute.

Positive creekwalker On Nov 5, 2007, creekwalker from Benton County, MO (Zone 5a) wrote:

Very pretty little flower. Seems to do well here in Missouri with our cold winters and hot dry summers.

There are two color variations, one with all pale lavender petals and the other with two upper dark violet petals and pale lavender lower petals. All have a white area on the bottom petal with the dark purple lines.

You can make jelly from the flowers and also candy the flowers to eat.

Positive dkm65 On Jul 22, 2007, dkm65 from Cedar Falls, IA (Zone 4b) wrote:

Very attractive. Some of the flowers are bi-color (or bi-shade, light and darker violet). The Regal Fritillary butterfly (& other fritillaries) depend on a few species of native Viola as their larval host plants, and V. pedata is one of the most important of these, especially in the upper mid-west. As Regal Fritillaries do not lay their eggs on the violet, there needs to be leaf litter or other vegetative matter for the first instar of the the larva to over winter in around the violets, which the larva need to find very quickly in the spring. Lawns aren't hospitable, so plant in a less disturbed area and leave some leaf and plant debris for overwintering. Also, make sure you have adult nectar sources (esp. echinaceas and native thistles [if legal where you live]).

This species is nowhere near as aggressive as the common violet, and unlike the common violet, doesn't do well in shade. The leaves may be evergreen or deciduous, depending on where you live.

To gather the seeds, as the seed pods get ripe, place a small tightly woven net over the plant head with a rubber band (a bit of pantyhose works well). When the seed pods open, they forcefully eject the seed, hence the net.

Neutral tcfromky On Oct 11, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

One of the earliest blooming prairie plants, they provide a striking backdrop for other early bloomers such as indian paintbrush and shooting stars.

Frontier doctors made a syrup or decoction of the plant and was used as an expectorant. The roots and leaves were also used as a mild laxative and to induce vomiting.

Positive samkar On Apr 3, 2004, samkar from Lake Lure, NC wrote:

Grows well in sandy-clay soil mix. Drainage is good.

Located where it receives morning to mid day sun, then shade after that.

Bloom time March-April.

Very attractive plant and flower.

Positive Toxicodendron On Jul 12, 2003, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Charming native wildflower in our region. Unlike other violets, this one needs sunshine and good drainage. It grows on bare slopes in acidic clay/gravel soils (usually subsoils that have been exposed due to roadbuilding or other construction). Has absolutely no insect or disease problems in our area, and thrives in our wet winter/spring, dry summer/fall climate.

Positive CAH On Jul 9, 2003, CAH wrote:

Birds Foot Violets seem to grow along roadsides here in North Carolina. This year I dug up 36 of them in March/April and potted them in Miracle Grow soil in plastic pots. I gave them occasional water outside with a NE exposure and allowed them to get a good root structure. Two months later I planted them in mulched clay soil with a SW afternoon sun. I am told that this is not too hot for them - and if my clay soil drains well, they should survive.
So far, my experience is positive. I will write again with
more when I have something to say.

Neutral Baa On Jan 9, 2002, Baa wrote:

A semi-everygreen violet from North America.

Has mid-dark green, 3 lobed (2 side (lateral) lobes further divided into 3-5), glossy leaves. Bears pale blue or bicolored blue and white with yellow centered flowers and short spurs.

Flowers April-June

This one can be a bit of a prima donna, needs sandy/peat, well drained soil and despises too much winter wet.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Barling, Arkansas
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Springdale, Arkansas
Chatsworth, Georgia
Cleveland, Georgia
Cornelia, Georgia
Fayetteville, Georgia
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Barbourville, Kentucky
Cole Camp, Missouri
West Plains, Missouri
Maplewood, New Jersey
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Lake Lure, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Clarksville, Tennessee
Viola, Tennessee
Blacksburg, Virginia

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