Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial plant is 3-6" tall. The individual leaves and flowering stems emerge directly from the rootstock. Each leaf is deeply divided into 3-5 palmate lobes, while a lobe may be further subdivided into 2-3 smaller lobes. The lobes are usually broader toward their tips than at the base of the leaf, and their tips may have 1 or 2 small teeth. A typical leaf is about 1" long and across (excluding the petiole). The petiole of each leaf is rather long and slender. The slender flowering stems are at least as long as the petioles; they are either green or purple. Each stem curves abruptly downward near the flower. The entire plant is hairless, or nearly so. The flowers have 5 petals and 5 sepals; they are ¾–1½" across. The sepals are green, while the petals are pale blue-violet to dark purple-violet. Usually the petals are the same color, although sometimes the upper two petals are dark purple-violet, while the lower three petals are pale blue-violet. Toward the throat of the flower, the lower petal is white with fine violet lines that function as nectar guides. There are no white hairs near the throat. The stamens are a conspicuous golden yellow.  The blooming period is mid- to late spring, and this plant may bloom during the fall. There may be a mild floral scent in some local ecotypes. Unlike other violets, Birdfoot Violet does not produce cleistogamous flowers. The coppery seeds can be ejected several inches from the mother plant. There is a sugary gel on the seeds that attracts ants; these ants often carry these seeds to their nests. The root system consists of a tuberous caudex with long coarse roots. Sometimes rhizomes are produced, forming vegetative offsets.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Comments

The photographs show three different color-forms of Birdfoot Violet and they are all beautiful. This violet can be distinguished from other Viola spp. (Violets) by its deeply lobed leaves, the large size of its flowers, and the absence of hairs near the throat of each flower. The common name refers to the appearance of the leaves. Return
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Viola pedata L.:
Canada (North America)
China (Asia)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Ecology

Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Bird's Foot Violet in Illinois

Viola pedata (Bird's Foot Violet)
(Bees usually suck nectar, but sometimes collect pollen; Syrphid flies feed on stray pollen [fsp] and are non-pollinating; other insects suck nectar; one observation is from Swengel & Swengel as indicated below, otherwise observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus griseocallis sn, Bombus impatiens sn, Bombus pensylvanica sn fq; Anthophoridae (Anthophorini): Anthophora ursina sn cp fq; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia speciosa sn

Flies
Syrphidae: Eristalis stipator fsp np

Butterflies
Lycaenidae: Lycaeides melissa samuelis sn (Sw); Pieridae: Colias philodice sn, Pieris rapae sn

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Erynnis brizo sn, Erynnis icelus sn, Erynnis juvenalis sn

Moths
Noctuidae: Anagrapha falcifera sn

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Faunal Associations

The flowers attract long-tongued bees, small butterflies, and skippers. Bee visitors during the spring include bumblebees and Anthophorine bees. Compared to other violets, the flowers of this species attracts more butterflies and skippers, which are often held horizontal to the ground (face up) and easier for such insects to land on. The caterpillars of various Fritillary butterflies feed on the foliage and flowers; the caterpillars of Speyeria idalia (Regal Fritillary) may prefer this violet species over others as a food source. As noted above, ants are attracted to the sugary gel on the seeds, and help to distribute them. Photographic Location
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Viola pedata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun and dry conditions. However, a little shade and more moisture is tolerated, if the site is well-drained. The soil should be sandy or rocky to reduce competition from other plants; a somewhat acid pH is preferred. The greatest danger is crown rot from poorly drained, heavy soil. This plant is more difficult to grow than most. Range & Habitat
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Wikipedia

Viola pedata

Viola pedata (birdsfoot violet, bird's-foot violet) is an ornamental plant in the Violaceae family, is also known as the "mountain pansy" is endemic to eastern North America. It favors well drained, acidic soils in full to partial sun environments. It is difficult to cultivate in typical garden environments because of an intolerance to rich, organic garden soils as well as excess moisture.

Varieties[edit]

Viola pedata var. bicolor

Two primary color forms exist, Viola pedata var. lineariloba ("concolor"), which is a solid pink-lilac-lavendar color, and var. pedata ("bicolor"), in which the superior petals are a deep red-purple and the lateral and interior petals are similar to the concolor variety. Less common is Viola pedata var. linearloba forma alba, which is a white flowered form.

References[edit]

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