News Round-Up

Teeny tiny Dwarf pansy returns after 17-year absence

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust has confirmed the first flowering Dwarf pansy (Viola kitaibeliana) on the uninhabited Island of Tean after 17 years absence, following long-term habitat restoration work.

The restoration of wildlife habitats – helping to increase the abundance of species and bring back rare flora and fauna – is a key part of The Wildlife Trusts 30 30 vision. That is to protect and connect 30% of land and sea for nature’s recovery by 2030.

In 2014 the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust began a project to restore the dune and maritime grassland areas of Tean; removing encroaching bracken, coarse grasses, and scrub, to try and bring back the Dwarf Pansy to its former sites.

Regular management has also helped to increase other plant species such as Western clover, Lady’s bedstraw, Changing forget-me-not, Portland spurge, Bird’s foot-trefoil and Stork’s-bill.

The Dwarf pansy is a very small, native, annual flowering plant which is only found on the Isles of Scilly and nowhere else in mainland Britain.

While the pansy has been recorded at other sites in recent years, including at Rushy Bay on the island of Bryher, the last confirmed sightings on the uninhabited Island of Tean, were in 2004.

Head Ranger, Darren Mason, who is responsible for the Ranger Teams work programme, says; “Well done everyone, that is a tremendous effort over the last few years! I can’t quite believe it, I’m absolutely stoked!”

James Byrne, landscape recovery programme manager at The Wildlife Trusts, says, “Our natural world is full of amazing plants and animals – big and small. Sadly, so many species are struggling out there and it is down to us to help them recover. Congratulations to the team at the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust. Bringing back such a rare flower shows what’s possible when we put the work in!”

Header image: BareFoot Photographer.