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Marsh Violet

Viola palustris

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Violaceae (Violet)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Beaches, bogs, heathland, marshes, meadows, wetland, woodland.

Blue, 5 petals
Pale blue to violet, solitary, nodding flowers with dark purple veins. Blunt sepals and a short spur. The petals are rounded at their ends. 5 stamens. Pollinated by insects.
A smooth, globular, 3-parted capsule.
Britain's only Violet with round leaves. The stalks are up to 10cm long. Perennial.
No fragrance.
Other Names:
Alpine Marsh Violet, Dwarf Marsh Violet.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Viola palustris, also known as the marsh violet, is a perennial flowering plant species in the violet family (Violaceae). It is native to wetlands and other wet habitats in North America, Europe, and Asia. The plant produces small, violet-blue flowers and can grow to be 10-30 cm tall. It typically blooms in the spring and early summer.


Marsh violet, also known as Viola palustris, is a beautiful and unique wildflower that is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. It is a herbaceous plant that grows in damp soils and is typically found in marshes, swamps, and other wetland areas.

One of the key characteristics of marsh violet is its delicate purple flowers that bloom in the spring and early summer. These flowers have five petals and a yellow center, making them highly attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The leaves of marsh violet are also noteworthy, as they are heart-shaped and have a slightly hairy texture.

In addition to being visually appealing, marsh violet also has a number of interesting ecological and cultural roles. For example, it is an important food source for many species of wildlife, including rabbits and deer, and is also a key component of many wetland ecosystems. It is also valued for its medicinal properties and has been used for centuries by indigenous people to treat a variety of ailments, such as skin irritation and headaches.

Despite its beauty and ecological importance, marsh violet is not well known to the general public and is often overlooked. This is unfortunate, as it is a valuable species that deserves recognition and protection. To help raise awareness about this amazing plant, conservation organizations are working to protect and restore wetland habitats, and to educate people about the importance of these unique ecosystems.

Marsh violet is a beautiful and unique wildflower that is an important part of many wetland ecosystems. By learning about this species and supporting conservation efforts, we can help ensure that this important plant remains a part of our natural heritage for generations to come.

In addition to its ecological and cultural significance, marsh violet is also of interest to botanists and horticulturists. The plant is highly adaptable and can be grown in a variety of soils and conditions, making it a popular choice for gardens and landscaping projects.

However, it is important to note that marsh violet is a protected species in many countries and should not be collected from the wild without permission. If you are interested in growing marsh violet in your garden, it is best to obtain plants from a reputable nursery or seed supplier.

Another interesting aspect of marsh violet is its ability to hybridize with other species of violets, producing new and unique varieties. This natural hybridization has resulted in a wealth of genetic diversity within the species, making it an interesting subject for scientific study.

Despite its versatility and adaptability, marsh violet faces several threats in the wild, including habitat destruction, overgrazing, and the spread of invasive plant species. These threats can have a significant impact on the health and survival of marsh violet populations, and it is important to work towards protecting this species and its habitats.

Overall, marsh violet is a fascinating and valuable wildflower that deserves our attention and protection. By learning about this species and supporting conservation efforts, we can help ensure that marsh violet continues to thrive and be a part of our natural heritage for years to come.

Another interesting fact about marsh violet is that it is a type of perennial plant, meaning that it can live for several years and produce new growth each spring. This makes it a great choice for gardeners who are looking for a long-lasting and low-maintenance plant.

When growing marsh violet in a garden setting, it is important to provide the plant with well-drained soil and moist conditions. This can be achieved by planting it in a low-lying area or by incorporating organic matter into the soil to improve its water-holding capacity.

In terms of maintenance, marsh violet is a low-maintenance plant that requires very little care. It can be allowed to grow naturally and will produce beautiful blooms each spring without the need for fertilization or pruning.

It's also important to keep an eye out for pests and diseases, as these can damage or kill the plant. Some common pests that can affect marsh violet include aphids and slugs, while diseases such as powdery mildew and root rot can also be a problem. Keeping the plant healthy by providing proper care and removing any infected parts can help prevent the spread of pests and diseases.

Finally, marsh violet can be propagated in a variety of ways, including from seed or by dividing mature clumps of the plant. This makes it easy for gardeners to grow and spread this beautiful and unique wildflower in their own gardens.

In conclusion, marsh violet is a beautiful, versatile, and low-maintenance plant that is well worth considering for any garden. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, this plant is sure to provide you with years of enjoyment and beauty.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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