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COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report on the Bird's-foot Violet in Canada


Habitat Requirements

Bird’s-foot violet grows in the Carolinian Zone within the climatic influence of Lake Erie. Typical habitat for the species is black oak savannah on sandy, well-drained, acidic soil with occasional disturbance to limit excessive shading from encroaching trees and shrubs (Kavanagh et al., 1990).

In the past, this disturbance came from periodic forest fires. Now, it is human disturbance¾in the form of logging, clearing for hydro rights-of-way, grazing, and occasional mowing¾that maintains the open habitat needed by the violet.

Fourteen plants, considered provincially significant in Oldham (1999), are associated with Viola pedata in Ontario. They include: Tephrosia virginiana, Polygonum tenue, Phlox subulata, Koeleria macrantha, Bouteloua curtipendula, Asclepias verticillata, Asclepias viridiflora, Disporum lanuginosum, Linum virginianum, Thalictrum revolutum, Myrica pensylvanica, Carya glabra, Hypoxis hirsuta, and Dichanthelium villosisimum (Kavanagh et al., 1990).


The largest populations occur in the provincially-owned Turkey Point Provincial Park. The second largest population occurs at the St. Williams Forest Station that is also owned by the province. The three smallest populations occur on private property.