Viola pedata

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: bird's foot violet 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Violaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: March to May
Bloom Description: Lilac/purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in sandy or gravelly, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Good soil drainage is the key to growing this plant well. Does not spread by runners. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions. Considered more difficult to grow than most other violets.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Viola pedata, commonly called bird's foot violet, features deeply divided leaves which somewhat resemble a bird's foot. A native Missouri wildflower that commonly occurs in dryish soils in rocky woods, slopes, glades and roadsides. It is a rhizomatous, stemless perennial (to 4" tall) which typically features variably colored flowers, the most common color forms being bi-colored (upper petals dark purple and lower ones light blue) and uniform light blue. Each flower rests above the foliage atop its own leafless stalk. Blooms in early spring (March to May in St. Louis).

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

Specific epithet means foot-like.


No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot may develop in poorly drained soils. Foliage may die back in summer.


Mass or groups in rock gardens. Ground cover for slopes or open woodland areas. Sunny areas of native plant or wildflower gardens. Along paths.