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Marsh violets are very small plants that flower in early spring. They are the primary nectar plant for the small pearl-bordered fritillary (a rare butterfly). As the name indicates, marsh violets grow on damp to swampy places. In addition, the plant likes half-shaded places that are calcium-poor, acidic, moderately nutrient-poor sand and peat ground. Examples are marshes and damp woodland paths. Marsh violets produce surface root suckers. Should they break off, flowing water can carry them to new places.

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