Viola pedatifida

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: larkspur violet 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Violaceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Deep violet-blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer


Easily grown in moist, humusy, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Will take full sun in the northern part of its growing range, but prefers part shade in the hot southern part of its growing range. Will freely self-seed in optimum conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Viola pedatifida, commonly called larkspur violet, purple prairie violet or prairie violet, is native from Saskatchewan to Ohio south to Oklahoma and Arkansas. In Missouri, it is typically found in loess hills and prairie areas (Steyermark). This is a clump-forming plant that grows to 8” tall. Deep violet-blue flowers (to .75” wide) bloom on leafless stalks from spring into summer. Flowers have five petals, with the middle one prominently spurred. Leaves are divided into bird-foot-like segments with very narrow leaflets. Divided leaves are reminiscent of delphinium hence the common name of larkspur violet. Seed is not always produced by the upright flowers, but is often produced from petalless flowers near ground level. This plant is similar in appearance to bird foot violet (Viola pedata), except the flowers are smaller and more pea-like in shape.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for various sweet-scented flowers.

Specific epithet means cut like a bird's foot for the leaves cut into narrow leaflets.


No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot may occur in poorly drained soils.


Group or mass in border fronts, rock gardens, cottage gardens and prairie areas.