H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Viola Pedata - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Viola Pedata Described.
Viola Pedata - Pedate-leaved or Bird's-foot Violet; Nat. Ord. Violaceæ.
Over a hundred years ago this hardy herbaceous violet was introduced from North America; still, it is not largely grown, though it is now becoming quite a favourite. As may be seen by the illustration, it is distinct in general appearance, more especially in the foliage, which in its young state is bird-foot-shaped, whence the appropriateness of its specific name; it should perhaps be explained that the leaves are very small compared with the flowers when the plant first begins to bloom, but later they increase very much in size. There are several characteristics about this species which render it desirable, and no choice collection should be without either this (the typical form) or some of its varieties. Deep cut, shining, dark green foliage, very bright blue flowers, and pleasing habit are its most prominent features; its blooming period is prolonged, and it has a robust constitution, which further commends it to lovers of choice flowers, and if once planted in proper quarters it gives no further trouble in the way of treatment.
The flowers are nearly an inch across, bright purple-blue, produced on stalks of varying lengths, but mostly long; the leaves are many parted, segments long, narrow and lance-shaped, some being cut or toothed near the tips; the crown of the root is rather bulky; the roots are long and fleshy.
The following are varieties; all are handsome and worth growing: V. p. alba, new; flowers white, not so robust as the type. V. p. bicolor, new; flowers two colours. V. p. flabellata (syn. V. digitata); flowers light purple. V. p. ranunculifolia (syn. V. ranunculifolia); flowers nearly white.
As this plant requires a moist and partially shaded situation, it is not eligible for doing duty indiscriminately in any part of the garden; still, it will thrive under any conditions such as the well-known violets are seen to encounter. On the north or west side of rockwork, in dips or moist parts, it will be found to do well and prove attractive.
The propagation of all the kinds may be carried out by allowing the seed to scatter itself, and, before the winter sets in, a light top-dressing of half rotted leaves and sand will not only be a natural way of protecting it until germination takes place, but will also be of much benefit to the parent plants. Another mode of increase is to divide the roots of strong and healthy specimens; in this way only can true kinds be obtained; seedlings are almost certain to be crossed.
Flowering period, May and June.
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