Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Larkspur Violet, Purple Prairie Violet
Viola pedatifida

Family: Violaceae (vy-oh-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Viola (vy-OH-la) (Info)
Species: pedatifida (ped-at-ee-fee-da) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

Unknown - Tell us

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

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:
Unknown - Tell us

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

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

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Baa
Thumbnail #1 of Viola pedatifida by Baa

By sladeofsky
Thumbnail #2 of Viola pedatifida by sladeofsky


1 positive
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative Malus2006 On Aug 11, 2010, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Doesn't do well when having competition from other plants and also seem to strongly dislike part sun.

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

One of a few larval host plants for fritillaries, including the regal fritillary, which have seen worrisome population declines throughout its range. V. pedatifida and V. pedata are the two most important larval host species in the upper midwest. Fritillaries do not lay their eggs on the host plant, and the first instar of the larva will overwinter in leaf litter, needing to find a host viola quickly in the spring. So it is important to have some undisturbed plantings with some leaf litter and other vegetative debris near your native violets (lawns don't work because of the mowing and raking). Also, make sure you have some adult nectar sources (esp. echinaceas and [if not a listed noxious weed where you live- IA & AR] native thistles).

Interesting, non-violet-like leaves. Will sometimes re-bloom in late summer.

Not as aggressive as the common violet, and unlike the common violet, V. pedatifida doesn't do all that well in shade. I don't think that the plant file should include the note on possibly a noxious or invasive plant, as it is a U.S. native, and I'm not aware of it being listed on any state's noxious weed list. Again, it is not as aggressive as common violet (also a native).

Seeds are ejected forcefully from the seed pods, but you can put a small net (a bit of pantyhose works well) over the seed head as the pods ripen. Esp. useful if you aren't sure when the pods are ripe. Fall direct sowing or a month or two of cold, moist stratification if germinating indoors in spring. Seeds are small, and should be surface sown with only a light sprinkling of soil at most covering them.

Neutral Baa On Oct 17, 2002, Baa wrote:

A short lived perennial from North America.

Has deeply divided, mid-green, palmate leaves which can be deciduous or semi-evergreen. Bears small, blue or lavender blue flowers with a whitish eye.

Flowers mainly from April - July

Loves a well drained, humus rich soil in light shade although it will tolerate some sun if it gets shade during the hot parts of the day.

Self-seeds freely where happy.

Is sadly threatened or endangered in some of it's native land.


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

Denver, Colorado
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Louisville, Kentucky
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)

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