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Native Plant of the Week: Birdsfoot Violet

Family: Violaceae

Name: Viola pedata


Bloom Time: April-May


Flower: Violet, lavender, white, purple, usually bicolor


Soil Condition: Dry, average, well-drained


Light: Sun, partial sun


Size: 4-8" tall by 4-8" wide


Native Range: Eastern North America including Long Island


Zone: 4-8


Photo: flower and form (KMS Native Plants)


Birdsfoot violet is one of the hardest native plants to grow, but it is worth the effort! It gets its name from the bird's foot shape of the leaves. Flowers bloom on stalkless stems. It is considered the prettiest of all the violets.


Maintenance: Susceptible to crown rot if the soil is not well drained.


Benefits: Host plant for Fritillary butterfly larvae. Specialized bees. Birds and small mammals eat the seed fruit.


Fun Facts: The seeds are ejected from the seed capsule and are covered with a sugary substance. This sweet substance attracts ants which in turn helps to disperse the seeds.


Companion Plants: Geum triflorum (prairie smoke), Ceanothus americana (New Jersey Tea), Antennaria neglecta (field pussytoes), Antennaria plantaginifolia (pussytoes), Carex pensylvanica (oak sedge)


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