Species at Risk

Bird’s-foot Violet

Bird’s-foot Violet (Viola pedata)

Status in Canada: Endangered

Status in Ontario: Endangered

Status at SWCR: Rare – 1 location

This low-growing perennial herb flowers in both spring and autumn. In Canada, it only occurs in a small area of southwestern Ontario.

Quick Facts:

  • There are only five populations left in Canada, and the population at the SWCR and Turkey Point Provincial Park is the largest, and the only one on public conservation lands.
  • It needs dry open areas to grow, and usually grows near oaks and pines.
  • It is   a fire-adapted species: it needs fire and other disturbances in order for seeds to germinate.

Threats at the St. Williams Conservation Reserve:

Habitat Degradation: The rare ecosystems it needs are degrading due to invasive species and fire suppression.

Recreational Pressures: Off-trail and unauthorized recreational activity at the reserve can damage individual plants and their habitats.

Activities that can damage critical Bird’s-foot violet and it’s habitat include:

  1. Activities that can introduce or encourage the growth of invasive plants, such as dumping of garden waste and off-trail ATV use.
  2. Activities that interfere with understory shrubs, unauthorized plant collecting and off-trail ATV use.
  3. Activities that can damage individual plants such as collecting, unauthorized road and trail use, or off-trail ATV use.

St. Williams Conservation Reserve management practices:

  • Population monitoring
  • Forest thinning activities
  • Invasive plant control
  • Enforcement of unauthorized trail use
  • Prescribed burns

What you can do to help:

  • Follow the code of conduct for recreational activities in the Conservation Reserve and know and respect the current trail-use regulations.
  • Clean your boots, bicycle tires, or ATV before and after visiting the SWCR or other natural areas to avoid spreading invasive plant seeds.
  • Report unauthorized trail use or any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).

More information:

Species At Risk Public Registry Profile

Ontario Species at Risk Profile

Funding for this project was provided through the Species At Risk Stewardship Fund