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Viola Species, Larkspur Violet, Purple Prairie Violet, Birdfoot Violet, Crow-foot 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)


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)


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



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer





Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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:


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

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

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:

Denver, Colorado

Cedar Falls, Iowa

Louisville, Kentucky

Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 8, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is a clump-forming, short-lived perennial whose deeply cut foliage looks much like bird's-foot violet (V. pedata), but with smaller flowers (to 3/4"). It is native to midwestern prairies and quality undisturbed grasslands, dry to mesic, and is neither noxious nor invasive.

As with many other violets, inconspicuous self-fertilizing (cleistogamous) flowers mature in summer into spring-loaded seedpods, which can eject the seeds up to 8 feet away. Under optimal conditions, this species may self-sow. However, it is not aggressive like most of our native stemless violets.

Prairie Violet occasionally hybridizes with the aggressive Common Blue Violet (V. papilionacea) and Le Conte's Violet (V. affinis) in nature. The resulting hybrids may then back-cross with the... read more


On Apr 8, 2015, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

There is either a great deal of variability with this species in leaf form and hue of bloom, or it may hybridize with other violas. I've noticed soon with only a few lobes. I also think this plant is best in bright shade. I suspect that taller neighbors give it some shade in its native grasslands. To be safe, grow it in a pot and set out offsprings and divisions in various sites to find what suits it best in your garden. Unfortunately, it sometimes produces flowers completely hidden by foliage. I wonder if selective breeding might eventually yield more standard and desirable traits. Also, watch out for seedlings that can pop up quite far from the parent. That being said, it is in no way rambunctious, unlike the common lawn violet.


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.


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... read more


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.