Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Prairie Violet

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Viola pedatifida

    COMMON NAMES: Prairie Violet, Crow-foot Violet, Larkspur Violet, Bearded Birdfoot Violet, Purple Prairie Violet, Coast Violet

    BLOOM TIME: Apr, May


    • Only 3-6 in. tall, but flowering stems taller.
    • Flowers are ¾ in, across & look like other purple violets.
    • Likes full sun and moist soil.
    • Rare in Illinois.
    • Considered an indicator plant of high quality prairie.
    • Not aggressive like some violet species.


    • Little information about flower-visiting insects is available for this species of violet, but similar violets attract Anthophorine bees, Mason bees, Eucerine Miner bees , Halictine bees, small butterflies, & Duskywing skippers .
    • Syrphid flies also visit violets, but they feed on stray pollen & are non-pollinating.
    • Because these insect visitors are uncommon during the spring, the Prairie Violet is capable of self-fertilization, like many other violets.
    • The caterpillars of various Fritillary butterflies feed on this & other violets, including Variegated Fritillary, Great Spangled Fritillary, Aphrodite Fritillary, Regal Fritillary, & Silver-Border Fritillary.
    • The small size & early growth habit of this plant provide some protection from mammalian herbivores.