Monday, April 09, 2007

Bird's Foot Violet

Photo by Marvin
April 5, 2007

Bird's Foot Violet (Viola pedata)

Unlike most of our wildflowers, Bird's Foot Violet prefers rocky and/or dry woods, slopes and ridges. It's growing in and along the old road around the bench, almost back to the house on our routine afternoon walk loop.

There are two varieties of this violet other than the one pictured above. One has two petals that are much darker purple and is often called a Pansy Violet. Here, those bloomed a little earlier in the spring. Another variety is white, but we haven't discovered any of those on our place. Like all violets, Bird's Foot can hybridize easily in the wild. Unlike most violets, Bird's Foot has no cleistogamous flowers, making it impossible for this species to self-pollinate.

Cleistogamous flowers are flowers that do not open and are self pollinated. Cleistogamy insures that a plant produces seeds, even if conditions are unfavorable for wind or insect pollination. Cleistogamy occurs in many different and unrelated plant families, including violets (Violaceae), rushes (Juncaceae) and grasses (Poaceae).

Additional Resources:
Discover Life
Missouri Plants
Missouri Botanical Garden