Viola. pedata. (the common and specific names are taken from the resemblance of the leaves to a bird's claws). - Family, Violet. Color, the 2 upper petals dark purple, the 3 others pale to violet blue. The stamens make a central, yellow eye. Sepals, 5, eared. Petals, 5, one of them spurred. Stamens, 2, with appendages which penetrate the spur cavity. Flower, 1 inch across. Leaves, much cut into 3 main divisions, linear, the side segments all cleft and toothed. One of the "stemless violets," its flower - scapes and leaves springing from a short, erect rootstock. Scapes 3 to 10 inches high, about the length of the petioles. April to June.
Dry soil, fields and hillsides, in open places, often abundant, from Maine to Minnesota, southward to Florida.
One of the largest and prettiest of the wild violets. The finely cut foliage, a variation from the prevailing violet type of entire and heart-shaped leaf, adds much to its beauty.
I recall always with satisfaction a sterile knoll in Connecticut, which, when a child, it was one of the pleasures of each recurring spring to visit. There I could gather the bird-foot violet by the handful, yet make no impression upon the spacious bed of bloom; and since I have seen adult classes in botany rush in a body to inspect and secure a few sparsely scattered specimens of this flower, I think my childish enthusiasm was justifiable.
Cleistogamous, self-pollinating blossoms, without colored petals, may be found near the roots in midsummer.