Ozarks Spring Wildflowers: Bird’s Foot Violet

Birds's Foot Violet, Viola pedata

Bird's Foot Violet is a beautiful blue violet that grows on dry edges of roads and on glades.

What can I say, I’m a sucker for blue flowers. Driving along the hilly Ozarks roads in spring you can often see patches of low blue flowers growing in the dry scubby areas where there are rock outcroppings. Several times I’ve been so curious I had to stop the car and take a look. What I had seen was Bird’s Foot Violet.

These are really a nice flower. They’re tough as nails and grow on the scruffy edges of roads and on glades where it’s dry. The foliage is subtle and lies below the large blue flat-faced flowers held on single stems coming from the center of the plant. The flowers are larger than you would expect from the foliage. The leaves, by the way, are where this plant gets its common name, Bird’s Foot Violet. Because the leaves are forked like a bird’s foot.

The color of this flower is more blue than purple like most of the members of the Viola genus. Yes, this is Viola pedata. Can you see the resemblance to the other Violas? There is also a bicolor variety that I sometimes see of this. It has dark plum purple upper petals and the same blue lower petals. I’ll try to get a picture of it if I see one.

Spring wildflower Viola pedata, Bird's Foot Violet in Piney Creek Wilderness

The color of this Bird's Foot Violet is pretty accurate in this picture.

Cluster of Bird's Foot Violet, Viola pedata

Bird's Foot Violets grow in a clump in dry areas.

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