Viola pedata L. - Bird's-Foot Violet, Pansy Violet

Viola pedata plant

Family - Violaceae

Stems - Acaulescent but with an erect caudex and fibrous roots.

Leaves - Basal. Outer leaves on shorter petioles(to 2.5cm long). Inner leaves with petioles to +5cm long. Petioles glabrous, with single adaxial groove. Stipules of lower leaves to +1cm long, attenuate, coarsely ciliate to fimbriate-margined. Stipules of inner leaves to +2cm long. Blade of outer leaves smaller, +/-2cm broad, +/-1.5cm long, typically palmately 3-lobed. Lobes oblanceolate to narrowly obovate. Inner leaf blades to +/-4cm broad, +/-2.5cm long, with the lobes again divided. Ultimate divisions linear to narrowly oblanceolate. All leaf blades glabrous, with strigillose margins.

Viola pedata plant

Inflorescence - Single pedunculate flowers from caudex. Peduncles to +10cm long, glabrous, often purplish, with pair of linear bracts at or below the middle. Bracts to 1.3cm long, -1mm broad.

Flowers - Corolla typically deep purple(rarely white or a mix of purple and white), +3.5cm long and broad. Lowest petal spurred, fading to white at base with purple venation. Lateral petals NOT bearded. All petals glabrous. Stamens 5, connivent to connate around ovary. The lowest 2 stamens with curved appendages at the base. appendages to 2.5mm long. Anther connective larger than in most other species of the genus. Anthers slightly exserted. Ovary glabrous, 2.1mm long, sub-cylindric, unilocular. Placentation parietal. Style glabrous, 2mm long, expanded and clavate. Sepals 5, attenuate, glabrous but with distinctly ciliate margins, to 1.1cm long, 2.5mm broad at base, auriculate. Auricles 1mm long, rounded. Uppermost sepal reflexed. Fruit glabrous, loosely 3-sided, -1cm long, with persistent style. Seeds many.

Viola pedata plantTypical flower color.

Viola pedata calyx Calyx and spurred petal.

Flowering - April - June and sometimes again in late fall.

Habitat - Rocky or dry open woods, slopes, ridges, prairies, glades, roadsides.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is a striking and easily identifiable species. The flowers are very large and the leaves are finely divided and are similar to a birds foot. The common name for the plant is "Bird's Foot Violet".
The flower color of this species is variable and several varieties and forms are recognizable.
V. pedata var. lineariloba form lineariloba has petals which are all deep purple and is shown above. Form alba (Thurb.) Britt. has pure white flowers and is rare in Missouri:

Viola pedata white flower

Variety pedata has upper petals which are dark violet and lower petals which are lavender:

Viola pedata bicolor flower

Viola pedata bicolor flower

The species is rather common in most of Missouri except the northwest corner of the state.

Photographs taken somewhere in North Carolina, 4-27-03, and in the Piney Creek Wilderness, Mark Twain National Forest, Barry County, MO., 4-9-01 and 4-5-04.


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