Viola pedata has deeply divided, palmate leaves on short petioles that arise from a central crown. Its lavender to purple blooms with orange centers are larger than most other violets. Its blooms may occasionally be white or bi-colored purple and blue. Also known as Bird's Foot Violet because of the form of its leaves, this uncommon perennial differs from most other violets in its leaf form, flower size, and preferred growing conditions. An exquisite little plant, it may self sow in ideal conditions.
Viola pedata is native to the east coast from Georgia to Maine, north into Ontario, and west to Nebraska and Texas. This wildflower is typically found on upland black soil prairies, sand and hill prairies, thinly wooded bluffs, openings in sandy or rocky forests, on sand dunes and other areas with sharp drainage and limited competition.
Viola pedata prefers sun to light shade and average to dry soil that is sandy, gritty, or rocky and well-drained. It does not tolerate wet soil. Bird's Foot Violet is best planted where there is little competition from other plants.