The tiny island of Tean was once home to a single resident, a modest chapel, diminutive grazed fields and a dwarf pansy smaller than the tip of a pencil. All these things vanished from the 0.16 sq km Scilly island in the years after it was abandoned by humans seeking larger things. But now the dwarf pansy ( Viola kitaibeliana ), which is found nowhere in Britain apart from on the Isles of Scilly archipelago, has returned to flower again after an absence of 16 summers. The pansy was discovered by rangers for the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust , who have taken a boat to Tean every autumn and spring for the past seven years to cut back bracken and gorse in parts of the island where it was once found. The pansy, an annual which spreads its seeds after flowering each year, requires short, well-grazed or regularly disturbed turf in which to prosper. Tean was grazed by livestock until the second world war, but the abandonment of grazing alongside the disappearance of rabbits from the island made life more difficult for the dwarf pansy. Seeds from its last confirmed flowering in 2004 lay dormant in Tean’s sandy […]


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