A.k.a. mountain pansy. A beautiful, short bloomer for dry, well drained soils! Bi-color flowers bear an even closer resemblance to pansy flowerers and ‘bird’s foot’ is a reference to the shape of the leaves. Prefers poor soils for lack of competition. Requires good drainage.
Light: Full Sun
Soil Moisture: Mesic, Dry Mesic, Dry
Soil Type: Sandy, Rocky
Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Mar-May
Root Type: (“...tuberous caudex with long coarse roots”, occasional rhizomes)
Notable Wildlife Interactions: Flowers attract bees, small butterflies, and skippers. Hosts the regal fritillary butterfly (rare east of the Mississippi), and possibly other fritillaries. Seeds are dispersed by ants.
Notes: Unlike most violets, bird’s foot violets do not produce cleistogamous flowers. Cleistogamous flowers remain low on the plant, never open, and pollinate themselves. This seems to be particularly advantageous for violets, who’s seeds are dispersed by ants, because cleistogamous flowers produce fruit/seeds at or sometimes even below ground level, where they are easily found by ants. The showy, colorful flowers of most violet species are infertile. Bird’s foot violets are notable for not producing cleistogamous flowers, and reproducing entirely through their showy flowers.