overlay image

Manitoba Museum

Violet (Violaceae)

Crowfoot Violet

Viola pedatifida G. Don

The flowers of this perennial have no noticeable floral scent, but draw in pollinators with their nectar guides. They attract bees (particularly queens), butterflies (and some larvae), skippers, and some flies. Because their pollinators are not always abundant, they also produce special flowers that remain closed, and self-pollinate within the bud. Natural wildfire can be beneficial to this species, by helping remove dead vegetation that can otherwise smother the plants.

Flower Colour:

  • Purple

Flowering Season:

  • Spring
  • Summer

Flowering Months:

  • April
  • June
  • May

Canadian Rarity Status:

Not rare. Listed as “sensitive” in Saskatchewan, and “may be at risk” in Alberta and Ontario.

Physical Appearance:

Long-stalked basal leaves are fan-shaped, divided into deeply lobed leaflets, and occur in a rosette of 3-10. Leafless flowering stems grow 5-22 cm tall from the basal leaves and curve downwards at the solitary flowers/buds. Each flower has two rounded upper petals, two hairy side petals, a central basal petal with dark nectar guides, and is backed by five pointed green sepals. Fruits are capsules containing numerous small brown seeds.

Similar Species:

Early Blue Violet (Viola adunca Sm.)

Gardening Notes:

Seeds and/or plants are often available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Can be propagated by seed or dividing plants.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Alberta
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Saskatchewan

Prairie Types:

  • Fescue Prairie
  • Mixed Grass Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie


  • Exposed Banks
  • Open Woodlands
  • Prairies
  • Savannahs

Moisture Conditions:

  • Moderate
  • Moist

Light Preference:

  • Full Sun
  • Part Shade

Soil Preference:

  • Clay
  • Organic
  • Silt
Crowfoot Violet