Cambridgeshire

Wicken Fen rare violet found at during survey

Fen violet Image copyright National Trust
Image caption The flower has blue-white flowers with a mother-of-pearl sheen and grows to about an inch (2.5cm)

A tiny rare violet has been found at a Cambridgeshire nature reserve after a 10-year absence, the National Trust has said.

Until it was spotted during a botanical survey this week the fen violet (Viola persicifolia) had not been seen in Wicken Fen since 2003.

The flower is white with hints of blue with a mother-of-pearl sheen and grows to about an inch (2.5cm).

Since the 1990s, it has only been found at two other sites in the UK.

As well as Wicken Fen, the violet has been found at Woodwalton Fen, also in Cambridgeshire, and Otmoor Site of Special Scientific Interest near Oxford.

National Trust countryside manager Martin Lester said: "It was a moment of satisfaction, surprise, tinged with relief that we had found it again.

"This delicate wetland plant is clinging on to survival not just in this country but across Europe."

Wicken Fen is home to many rare plant species, including the marsh pea, the marsh fern, the milk parsley and the whorled water milfoil, as well as a number of different orchids.

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