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Bird-Foot Violet

Common Name: Bird-Foot Violet, Crowfoot

Scientific Name: Viola pedata

Description: Hardy, spring-flowering North American perennial; brightly colored, five-petaled flowers—the upper 2 petals are deep violet and the lower 3 pale lavender

Size: Grows to 6 inches high

Cultural Information: Prefers full to filtered sunlight and dry, rocky or sandy soil

USDA Zones: 4 through 8

Historical Notes: This shy, solitary violet with its leaves resembling a bird's foot, is found in the barren soils of upland woods and dry, sunny clearings throughout much of the Eastern United States. Plants were first sent to Europe during the 1750s and named by Linnaeus. Eighteenth-century Virginia gardener Jean Skipwith was likely referring to this charming species as the "cut-leaved" wild violet "with a pansy flower" that she grew among her sweet-scented violets at Prestwould.1 J. E. Teschemacher, writing in the Horticultural Register (1835), recommended Viola pedata for rock gardens.2

Text from Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet

Further Sources


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