Birdsfoot Violet

Viola pedata

Birdfoot violet
Birdfoot violet

This violet gets its name from the cut-out shape of the leaf: it looks like a bird’s foot!  Something else remarkable about this pretty little plant is the broad, flat face of the flower (1-inch wide), which is somewhat reminiscent of a cultivated pansy. The petals are lilac-purple to blue-white, and sometimes the upper two petals are deep purple (see photos below). The stamens are always orange and protruding, which draws the eye to the center. Birdsfoot violet flowers are held high above the low-growing foliage, creating quite a show in May and June. These plants were found growing on the dry shale banks around Pandapas Pond in mid-May.

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