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)


Alpines and Rock Gardens


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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

At least 3 states have listed this species as threatened or vulnerable. Please do not attempt to transplant this from the wild where it is rare. Nursery-propagated plants are commercially available.

This has been a shrinking violet, here.

It's 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, it gets quickly crowded out by its neighbors... read more


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.


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 ever... read more


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.


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 ... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.